OAKLAND -- A's co-owner Lew Wolff celebrated the final ratification of a 10-year lease extension by shaking hands with local officials and revealing that he has approached an architect to work on designs for a new ballpark adjacent to O.co Coliseum.

Wolff was a surprise guest Wednesday morning at a meeting at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, which ratified a the lease extension approved last month by city and county politicians.

The lease deal requires Wolff to enter "good faith" discussions about building a new ballpark in Oakland. After several years of trying to move the team south -- first to Fremont and then to San Jose -- Wolff has indicated that he is seriously giving Oakland a second look.

File: Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff  on Feb. 8, 2012 in San Jose. (Dai Sugano/Staff)
File: Oakland A's owner Lew Wolff on Feb. 8, 2012 in San Jose. (Dai Sugano/Staff)

Wolff's statement that he has approached an architecture firm comes less than a month after he wrote that the A's were considering making a monetary offer to take control of the sprawling Coliseum site, which is jointly owned by the city and county. The two entities still owe more than $100 million combined on the land stemming from stadium renovations two decades ago that brought the Raiders back from Los Angeles.

Speaking by phone after Wednesday's lease vote, Wolff said the A's are considering several design ideas but are only in the early stages of evaluating whether a project would be workable.


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"What I need is a new venue that is financially feasible," he said. "And we have to do it without a great deal of public assistance. It's not a simple exercise." Wolff also declined to say which architectural firm he has approached to work on stadium designs.

Wednesday's lease vote by the Coliseum board ended several months of contentious negotiations.

Wolff's decision to stop in on the meeting, which took place at the Oracle Arena adjacent to the Coliseum, encouraged local officials that Wolff was ready to put the lease talks behind him.

After the vote, Wolff, Mayor Jean Quan and several members of the City Council signed baseballs and a bat that will be raffled off by local nonprofits.

"It does make me hopeful," said Councilman Larry Reid, who was surprised to see Wolff at the meeting. "I think all of us left with a sense that there is a real possibility that we can keep the A's in Oakland for another 50 years."

Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.