OAKLAND — The Oakland A's ambitious plan to redevelop a swath of industrial Oakland into a residential ballpark village appears to remain just that: a plan.

In recent weeks, team representatives and officials in Oakland and Alameda County have spoken more about the plan's difficulties than ways to make it work.

And with team owner Lewis Wolff making April the deadline for having a plan and location in place, it is beginning to look like

the ballpark village will not happen.

"Discussions on that site have not gotten very far," A's spokesman Jim Young said last week. "Right now, we are asking what Plan B is."

The lack of movement on the site, which the A's chose last year as its ideal location for a new park in Oakland, appears to have frustrated the team.

Wolff asked city officials four months ago for help in acquiring the more than 100 properties between 66th Avenue and High Street in East Oakland.

He promised to pay for construction of a 35,000-seat park but said he needs room to build housing and retail stores to generate the $300 million to $400 million in expected construction costs.

The plan calls for a stadium near the corner of San Leandro Street and 66th Avenue, with retail stores and a plaza stretching from the ballpark to Interstate 880. It includes housing units in high-rises and midrises stretching from the edge of the ballpark to High Street.

"Everyone benefits if we can take an older area and recast it into a nicer and more modern activity," Wolff said at the time.


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"A mixed-use kind of an approach, we can use that to help pay for the facility."

But standing in the way are the 100 or so property owners with businesses in the area. Their land is appraised at more than $100 million, though it is likely higher on the real estate market.

They did not appear willing to move, and the city and the A's do not appear willing to use em- inent domain to take the land.

"It is not that simple," saidCity Council President Ignacio De Fuente (Glenview-Fruitvale). "Any site they are looking at requires an assembly of land. When you have land that you don't own ... it is not that easy."

Neither side has publicly said the 66th Avenue to High Street site is out of the running for a new ballpark, but some have said Wolff appears to have written it off.

"You have more than 70 property owners in that area, and most of them are not willing to close down their business and relocate. And the city does not want to use eminent domain," said City Councilmember Larry Reid (Elmhurst-East Oakland). "I think Mr. Wolff just came to the conclusion that it is off the table."

Added Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele: "I think we are looking at other options at this moment."

Those other options are in and around the McAfee Coliseum complex, many said.

The idea is to have Wolff build the stadium on the Coliseum parking lot and then use surrounding property for possible parking garages and retail and housing developments.

It would be easier to build a stadium on the Coliseum property since the government already owns the land.

On the other hand, it could prove difficult because the city's two other professional sports franchises — the Raiders and Golden State Warriors — would have to sign off on any deal. Their approval is necessary because anything built on Coliseum property is sure to disrupt parking at the complex.

Complications also could arise if the A's and the city and county begin to look at ideas to develop land around the complex for Wolff's plan to build housing and retail.

It would once again require negotiations with property owners.

So far, however, building on the Coliseum property remains a concept, and discussions between the A's and their governmental landlord have not been as frequent as some had hoped.

"Nothing is really happening right now," Steele said. "And Wolff is a little upset."

Young would not say last week if Wolff was angry with local leaders, but he said the team "needs all parties on the same page."

"We need some help," he said. "We are in need of some direction from the city of Oakland."

Frustrating the team more was a decision by some at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority not to extend the team's current lease by three years.

Wolff had asked for the extension in exchange for allowing the Oakland Raiders to have advertisements inside McAfee Coliseum. Wolff's approval was an integral part of the Raiders deal because it allows the football team to generate cash.

Although the A's said they would approve such a compromise, at the last minute they asked for an extension. It was denied.

"We thought ... that would give us some cushion," Young said.

Steele said her top priority in the new year will be to give the A's that cushion and secure a new site for a stadium.

But until then, everyone concerned about the team staying in town will have to wait.

"It's a challenge, but we are going to continue to work with them," De La Fuente said. "We'll just keep clubbing away."