16 months after originally floating the Coliseum City idea, the city of Oakland and the county of Alameda have already poured $4.5 millions into studies on the project. According to a recent report in the San Francisco Chronicle, that number could soon be rising.
Oakland reached a deal with JRDV Urban International to design a super complex that would include new homes for the Oakland Athletics, the Oakland Raiders and the Golden State Warriors. The problem, is, that deal is up in September.
The Chronicle reported that the architectural design firm wants $3 million more to keep designing the City. For its part, Oakland blames the delay in the project on slow moving environmental-impact reports, and doesn’t plan to hand any more money over to JRDV.
Of the money already spent, $3.5 million was approved by the City Council and an additional $1 million has been put up by the Oakland-Alameda Joint Powers Authority with some of that coming from the Raiders.
So the Raiders are in, or at least they appear quite interested in staying in Oakland. Just this week, the team announced its interest in building the tiniest stadium in the league in Oakland.
To see how the Warriors feel about the city just go to the team’s official website. On the front page, you can find a photoshopped image of a shiny new stadium on the San Francisco side of the Bay.
Then there’s the Athletics. The team has been in Oakland since 1968, but it seems as though owner Lew Wolff is practically allergic to the city. The real estate developer desperately wants to move his team to San Jose. However, based on recent developments in the lawsuit filed by the South Bay city against MLB, that’s not going to be happening anytime soon.
The league just retained John Keker to lead its defense. Keker was the top prosecutor in the Iran-Contra trial, defended Lance Armstrong and is generally regarded as one of the most feared white-collar attorneys in the country.
The Yale Law School grad also happens to be a San Francisco Giants season ticket holder. The Giants, of course, would be the team that would benefit the most from the league winning the case and blocking the Athletics from their San Jose move.
But then again, would the San Francisco-based club really benefit the most? The Giants would certainly lose a good chunk of fans if the Athletics headed south and lined up a sweet new park in the tech capital.
But think about the hit the Giants would take if Oakland could pull off the Coliseum City — the sprawling 750-acre super campus with brand new NFL, MLB and NBA stadiums all within walking distance. Or, perhaps the Athletics could slide into the recently vacated waterfront site at Howard Terminal.
The Athletics could surely steal some attention from the Giants if they head to San Jose, but if the team really wants to knock the cross-bay squad down a peg, the Athletics should stay right where they are.
I don’t know exactly what Ms. Quan is up to, but whatever her plan is, hopefully it doesn’t involve too much public money. The city and the county taxpayers are still paying down the cost of the last Coliseum makeover from the 1990s.
With the Athletics current lease at the Coliseum due to expire at season’s end, the pressure is really on Ms. Quan and the city of Oakland.
I’m guessing Ms. Quan will be up to the task.