Fred Blackwell, assistant city administrator, talks about the Coliseum City Project at Oakland City Hall on March 7, 2012.
Fred Blackwell, assistant city administrator, talks about the Coliseum City Project at Oakland City Hall on March 7, 2012. (Laura A. Oda/Staff file)

Staff writers

OAKLAND -- Real estate giant Colony Capital has officially joined the team seeking to redevelop the Oakland Coliseum complex and will take the lead in raising money for the multibillion dollar project, according to a city report released Friday.

Colony Capital Acquisitions LLC and Hayah Holdings of Dubai have formed Bay Investment Group LLC, which will serve as the master developer for transforming the coliseum complex into a sports and entertainment hub, according to the report by assistant city administrator Fred Blackwell.

The project is seen as the city's best hope to keep the Raiders from leaving town.

With Colony, the world's third-largest privately held real estate firm on board, the city announced the withdrawal of Forest City Real Estate Services from the development team.

Forest City had been part of the original team picked to get the ball rolling on the Coliseum project last year. The development team's contract with the city was set to expire last month, but the City Council extended it for a year after Colony declared its interest in the project.

The development team still must meet several benchmarks over the next year. By mid-April the team must submit a letter of interest in the project from one of the three professional teams that currently play home games at the complex.

Kaiser to compromise on garden plan


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Kaiser Permanente has backed away from plans to fence off a planned garden near its Oakland hospital and agreed to work with neighbors on the project.

The health care giant had proposed building a nearly 1-acre garden on its property at the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and West MacArthur Boulevard that would have been closed to residents as well as patients and employees.

But the proposal had been panned by neighbors and council members. At Wednesday's Oakland Planning Commission meeting, the health care system presented an alternative garden plan that would push back fences to provide more public space.

That wasn't enough for planning commissioners, who urged Kaiser to make further public space concessions.

The commission, which has final say over the project, voted to continue discussions while Kaiser and residents discuss a compromise.

Kaiser had originally planned to build an office building at the site adjacent to its new hospital. When those plans fell through, it opted for a garden to satisfy city requirements that it keep the area secure and well lit.

San Leandro adds to pot shop restrictions

The San Leandro City Council on Monday added a 1,000 foot buffer around houses of worship to the list of restrictions for its first medical marijuana shop, even though doing so meant delaying the new ordinance allowing the shop by a month.

Before Monday's action, 432 San Leandro parcels met the location criteria, which included being at least 1,000 feet away from schools, youth centers and parks and recreation facilities. That number was reduced to 410 parcels with the inclusion of houses of worship, city staff said.

The city's moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries expired Sept. 30, 2012, and the council voted Nov. 4 this year to allow one highly regulated marijuana dispensary within city limits, rather than two. The revised draft ordinance will return to the council twice in December and, if approved, could take effect as soon as mid-January, city officials said.

The council also voted Monday to create an ad hoc committee to study potential revenue measures, including the possibility of placing a medical marijuana sales tax on the 2014 ballot.

Health club to replace vacant Hayward store

A long-empty building at Southland Mall that once held a Lucky grocery store will be demolished, paving the way for a health club.

The City Council on Tuesday approved a request to build a City Sports Club on the Hesperian Boulevard side of the shopping center. The 45,000-square-foot health club will include a gym, a basketball court, racquetball courts, a lap pool and a day care area.

Neighbors have clamored for a full-service grocery store at the site ever since Lucky closed its supermarket in 2008.

There is room for a supermarket south of where the health club will be built, and representatives for Rouse Properties, which owns Southland, are actively seeking a grocery retailer, according to the staff report.