The state take-back of redevelopment money has forced the city to abandon plans for a waterfront ballpark -- the linchpin of efforts to keep the A's in Oakland.
"We are no longer advocating for Victory Court," Gregory Hunter, head of the soon-to-be-dissolved Oakland Redevelopment Agency, said Monday during a meeting of the Alameda County supervisors.
The city can no longer afford Victory Court without redevelopment dollars, Hunter said.
That means the focus is solely on revamping the O.co Coliseum complex with retail, restaurants, hotels and new sports facilities for the Raiders and Warriors.
The plan would include a new ballpark for the A's if the team stays in Oakland.
"The Coliseum is the appropriate (site) to retain the A's," Hunter said.
The city has already selected a team of consultants to conduct an environmental impact review of the Coliseum site, the first step in the planning process.
The group includes Oakland-based JRDV; the sports facility architectural firm HKS; and Forest City, developers of the Uptown apartments in Oakland and former owners of the New Jersey Nets.
But the dissolution of Oakland's redevelopment agency also has complicated their contract.
The city set aside $4 million in redevelopment money for initial planning and the EIR, but had to shelter the funds from access by the state by moving them into another fund.
That puts the city at risk
Oakland City Council members have yet to approve the $3.7 million contract. The vote was scheduled for a Jan. 25 meeting but was postponed because the details of the contract are still being negotiated, assistant city administrator Fred Blackwell said.
City officials, however, hope to have the item on the agenda as soon as possible and wrap up the EIR within 15 months after that, said Eric Angstadt, deputy director of community and economic development.
He told county supervisors that the city is trying to push forward quickly in order to catch up with Santa Clara and San Jose. The San Francisco 49ers have few obstacles to starting construction on a stadium in Santa Clara besides a grass-roots group threatening to derail the plan. The Raiders could opt to share that facility.
The A's are eager to move to San Jose, where an EIR already has been completed on a proposed ballpark, but that project still faces several hurdles. However, A's co-owner Lew Wolff has offered to put up money to help expedite the construction.
The Warriors want a new arena, as well, but the team's contract at O.co Coliseum doesn't expire until 2027. The basketball team could leave before the lease expires in 2027 but would have to pay a hefty fee to do so.
Hunter and Angstadt were on hand Monday to give supervisors an update.
The county and city share jurisdiction over the Coliseum complex, but the relationship has been a rocky one for years. Supervisors complained the city had not included the county or the Joint Powers Authority trustees, who oversee the Coliseum complex, in discussions leading up to the choice of the EIR contractors. It appears most of the conversations were with the JPA staff, who do not have decision-making authority.
Now supervisors will be discussing what role to play in the process as it moves forward.
Supervisor Keith Carson said he, like the fans, supports keeping the teams in Oakland.
But he also wanted to do what is in the best interest of the county, which, he added, "is not in the sports business."