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Oakland announces plan to sell its share of Coliseum ownership

Some neighbors skeptical about Coliseum's future, despite Oakland's plan to sell its share
Some neighbors skeptical about Coliseum's future, despite Oakland's plan to sell its share 03:27

The city of Oakland has reached an agreement to sell its 50 percent ownership share of the Coliseum to a local buyer, the African American Sports and Entertainment Group. 

Mayor Sheng Thao's office said she would be holding a news conference Wednesday afternoon to announce details of the deal, which is for a minimum purchase price of $105 million over two years. 

Funds from the sale will help Oakland cope with its projected $177 million budget deficit, according to the mayor's office, and could enable the city to avoid painful cuts to city departments, including police services.

After acquiring the city's half of the massive East Oakland property, AASEG is expected to continue making progress on the purchase of the other half from the Oakland A's, which bought its share from Alameda County for $85 million.

In the past, AASEG has said it was considering bringing a Women's National Basketball Association team and a Black-led NFL team to the site, as well as affordable housing, retail spaces and parks. 

Residents who live around the Coliseum were glad to hear about the possibility of a new development at the site, but remained wary.

"Yeah, I'd like to see that," Mike, a Coliseum neighbor, said of the future plans for the Coliseum. "What about the jobs? Who's gonna get the jobs? Are they going to have jobs for people here or what?"

He has heard all about the proposed $5 billion re-development of the site, but Mike admitted to being a little skeptical.

"I don't know," he added. "The value of the land. It's worth a lot. I don't see any master plan here."

Mike has watched this area fall on hard times in recent years and he'd love to see improvements.

"Denny's, the restaurant over here? That's closed," Mike said. "And housing. That's the biggest problem: housing." 

But then there's the reality of the cost and time involved. What does he think this area will look like in 10 years?

"10 years," he said before pausing. "I don't know. It's possible. I don't know."

Thao disclosed additional details of the sale at a Wednesday afternoon event held at Castlemont High School. She was joined by AASEG's Ray Bobbit and Carolyn "CJ" Johnson of the Black Cultural Zone. 

"They have created 3-D models, 2-D site plans, and policies to promote development without displacement," explained  Lilly Jacobson, a teacher at Castlemont High School.

The site, as envisioned by Castlemont students, was part of the city's announcement of the sale. It completes a process that was announced to much fanfare in 2023. Mayor Sheng Thao declined to speak on how this might help the city's budget deficit, but she promised returns beyond the $105 million.

"Once we finish this off, there is a clause in there that demands for community engagement," Thao said, adding that more details would come Thursday. "Not just that, but strong community benefits."

Part of that would be a 25% affordable housing requirement, but many hurdles remain. First among them, the Oakland A's still own half of the site. 

"I'm under an NDA with respect to our negotiations with the Athletics," said Ray Bobbitt with the African American Sports & Entertainment Group. "So I can't expand on that too much.  But I can say that we are in healthy negotiations and they have continued."

An A's spokesperson confirmed to CBS News Bay Area the details of the sale of Oakland's portion of the site to the African American Sports and Entertainment Group for a minimum price of $105 million were accurate.

In addition to the uncertainty surrounding all of the latest developments, there are plenty of complexities as well. The city still has to finish paying off its share of the 1990s renovation of the complex before any sale of its share can be finalized. That will happen some time next year.

Wilson Walker contributed to this story.

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