Oakland's City Council is hauling Alameda County to court, complicating the eighth — eighth! — attempt at building a new Oakland A’s ballpark.
The Oakland Athletics’ saga of trying to build an acceptable modern-day stadium that does not have embarrassing raw sewage issues is now heading near its 20th year. The team had hoped for an Uptown ballpark in 2002, then set their sights on a 66th Avenue stadium in 2005. When those fell through, they explored moves to Fremont and San Jose before deciding to stay in Oakland and consider more East Bay sites. But earlier this year, it sure seemed like a Jack London Square-adjacent waterfront site was finally going to score the A’s their long-desired, non-dilapidated ballpark, as seen rendered above.
Now that plan could be benched too. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland City Council is suing Alameda County to prevent them from selling a share of the current Oakland Coliseum site to the A’s. The A’s argue they need that land and potential revenue from it to finance their proposed Howard Terminal stadium at Jack London Square. Oakland’s council contends that the sale violates a Surplus Lands Act which requires publicly-owned surplus lands get considered as affordable housing sites before being sold.
“The Coliseum properties are Oakland’s largest public land parcel, and it is imperative that the properties are developed first and foremost for the benefit of the people of Oakland and Alameda County,” Oakland city attorney Barbara Parker told the Chronicle. “The city has declared its commitment to develop the Coliseum properties to achieve their highest and best use for the public good.”
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf was stunned and displeased to hear of the council’s move. “Our city and county governments should work with each other, not against each other,” Schaaf said in a statement to the Chron. “I hope the council suspends this suit so we can all collaborate together on a beneficial future for the Coliseum.”
Parker claims the lawsuit “has nothing to do” with the A’s new stadium, but not getting that Coliseum land represents a significant monkey wrench in the A’s plans. That Coliseum land is half owned by the city of Oakland and half by Alameda County, and Oakland says the county did not negotiate in good faith in getting a sweet $85 million offer for the land.
The A’s are, of course, Oakland’s last remaining pro sports team. The Raiders already have one foot out the door for Las Vegas, playing in London this Sunday and without another home game until November. The Golden State Warriors are already practicing at the Chase Center in downtown San Francisco.
On a brighter note, the A’s begin the American League playoff tomorrow night, with the AL Wild Card Game against the Tampa Bay Rays at 5:09 p.m. Wednesday at the Oakland Coliseum.
Image: Bjarke Ingels Group courtesy Oakland Athletics