OAKLAND -- The city released its most detailed planning and environmental studies Friday for its ambitious and oft-criticized plan to keep its sports teams and redevelop a huge swath of East Oakland into a sports, entertainment and technology center.
The Coliseum City Specific Plan envisions up to three new sports venues, 5,750 homes and nearly 8 million square feet of new retail and office space sprawled over hundreds of acres on both sides of Interstate 880.
The plan along with a draft environmental impact analysis will lay the groundwork and ease permitting requirements for future development between the Coliseum complex and Oakland International Airport, but there's no guarantee that any of it will ever come to fruition.
The project is dependent on a massive infusion of private capital that hasn't yet materialized.
The city is negotiating exclusively with a development team, headlined by Santa Monica-based real estate titan Colony Capital. But so far, the team has failed to consistently submit reports on time or identify investors and developers willing to build a new stadium for the Oakland Raiders along with adjacent shops and restaurants where O.co Coliseum now stands. There still is no agreement on whether the stadium would have an expensive roof as envisioned by the Oakland-based design firm JRDV Architects.
The challenges are even greater on the other side of I-880 where the city owns almost none of the land envisioned for technology campuses, offices and homes.
"I think it's a pipe dream," Councilman Larry Reid said of drawings showing gleaming new buildings and a new arena west of the freeway. "I would love for it to happen. But on the west side it would be challenging to do anything."
One of the key goals of Coliseum City is to modernize the Coliseum complex so that instead of sporting venues surrounded by parking lots, there would be lots of restaurants and businesses for fans to patronize thereby generating money for the city and developers.
The city's sporting landscape has shifted over the two years since the city dedicated more than $1 million in state redevelopment funds to pay for the planning and environmental studies.
Raiders owner Mark Davis, who declared his support for the plan, has recently bemoaned the lack of progress and resumed courting other cities as future homes for his team. The Raiders did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.
The Oakland A's, on the other hand, are reconsidering the Coliseum site for a new ballpark after years of focusing only on a move to San Jose. On Friday, the team announced that it had retained 360 Architecture, the same firm that worked with the club on Cisco Field, to evaluate ballpark design options at the Coliseum complex.
The A's declined to comment Friday on the Coliseum City plans; however, co-owner Lew Wolff has said the team would want to control the project and won't work with the city's hand-picked development group.
Mayor Jean Quan, who has championed Coliseum City, said Friday she still is confident that the Raiders and the private development group will strike a deal on a new football stadium before the end of next month.
If no deal materializes, the city can begin searching for a new development team before the end of October.
The plan includes an expanded BART station with lots of shops restaurants and homes nearby. It also provides alternatives based on how many sports teams remain at the facility. One scenario anticipates Oakland losing all its teams.
"We're trying to re-envision the area," Quan said. "Rather than look at this area as 130 acres with a stadium that is only busy during games, we're looking at it as one of the largest transit-oriented developments in the country."
The draft environmental impact report is available for public review at the city's "Current Environmental Review documents" Web page. To view the plan, visit www.oaklandnet.com/coliseumcity.
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.