East Bay News

Oakland city leaders announce Coliseum makeover plan

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

If Oakland Mayor Jean Quan gets her way, the city's three professional sports teams won't want to leave Oakland. City leaders and business owners unveiled what they're calling "Coliseum City".

"Coliseum City is a game changer and Oakland is playing to win," said Quan.

Oakland City Council unanimously approved spending $3.5 million on plans for a new stadium. Coliseum City would be near the existing Oakland Coliseum and would be a destination point that would house the city's three professional teams and include shopping, hotels, a conference center and entertainment. For a city hard-hit by unemployment, Quan said it could mean many more jobs.

"We believe that it could generate up to 32,000 jobs," said Quan.

Councilmember Larry Reid said that the $3.5 million being used is most of what remains of the city's redevelopment money and will not come from the general fund. He pointed out that the project itself would be financed privately and will not fall on the backs of taxpayers.

City leaders could not say where the private financing would come from, how much the project would cost, or how much they are willing to spend.

"We think that it's going to be a net profit to the city and may even help to pay down some of the old, old debt," said Quan.

Developing the Coliseum area has become a priority for city leaders. First, the infrastructure is there with public transportation, available lots, and easy access to the freeway. Secondly, the Oakland sports teams are a priority. The A's, the Raiders and the Golden State Warriors have all discussed the possibility of leaving Oakland.

"We'd love to hear the A's say, 'Hey, we want to stay here and that's not even an issue,' but that's their business and they want to keep their options open," said Chris Dobbins from SaveOaklandSports.org.

The area surrounding the Oakland Coliseum is spread across 750 acres. The complex, built in the 1960s and home to both the Oakland A's and the Raiders -- who had hoped for a football only stadium by 2015 -- will most likely get a complete makeover. The Warriors lease agreement for the arena, up in 2017, says that their position has not changed and that they continue to explore open options in the Bay Area, including Oakland.

Keeping all three teams in Oakland is what city leaders are aiming for -- a true sports trifecta.

ABC7 contacted all three of the teams, all of whom declined to comment on the city's development plans or if they'd be happy with a make-over when some teams are getting new digs from the ground up, saying only that they will comment when the time is appropriate.

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oakland, oakland coliseum, oakland athletics, oakland raiders, golden state warriors, east bay news
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