A group that has been selected by the City of Oakland to redevelop the Oakland Coliseum and Arena properties has big ambitions for the future complex, which include bringing both a new NFL team to Oakland and establishing a new women's basketball team in the city.
While the Oakland A's are all but guaranteed to be moving to a new stadium complex near Jack London Square in the coming years — becoming the third professional sports team to abandon the Coliseum property after the Warriors and the Raiders — developers taking on the Coliseum's redevelopment have hopes to at least bring some football and basketball back sometime in the future.
Last week, the city selected the African American Sports and Entertainment Group to enter into exclusive negotiations to redevelop the property — which now, technically, is the RingCentral Coliseum and Oakland Arena. As KTVU reported, those negotiations will be to buy or lease 50% of the city's share of the property, which is jointly owned by the A's. It's not yet clear where the A's plans will figure in to the redevelopment process.
The new developer group, which includes former Oakland City Manager Robert Bobb and Oakland-based urban planning and facility management consultan Ray Bobbitt, hopes to establish the first African American majority-owned NFL team, and they say they have begun talks with the NFL to do so. Whether that will mean having an existing team relocated to Oakland or establishing a brand new team is likely up in the air — but as NBC Sports reported this year, the rumors are that by 2030, the NFL plans to add at least two more teams, for a total of 34 or possibly more, and to increase the length of the regular football season from 17 to 18 games.
As KTVU reports, the African American Sports and Entertainment Group also has plans to build a convention center attached to the Coliseum complex, and much more.
"We want to build quality affordable housing, education, business districts," Bobbitt told KTVU. "We'd like there to be a hotel," he added.
The group also says it is in "high-level talks" with the WNBA to bring a women's basketball team to the city for the first time. The league currently has 12 teams and only one in California, the Los Angeles Sparks. Five teams have relocated and the league has contracted and expanded multiple times since it was established in 1997, and there have been a total of 18 teams in WNBA history.
How this will fit in with the A's plans to also develop the property is not clear — and another competing development group that the city did not select was led by former A's pitcher Dave Stewart. It may be that the A's will be cut in to the deal to develop for-sale housing — and the team has said it needs money from developing the Coliseum property to help fund the waterfront ballpark and complex it plans to build on the Oakland Estuary at what's called the Howard Terminal site. That development also has a significant housing component.
"The A's have [been] singularly focused on Howard's Terminal," Bobbitt told KTVU. "I don't think they are focused on the Coliseum."