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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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A step forward but many hurdles remain for Oakland sports facilities

Uploaded: Mar 24, 2015

This morning the Alameda County supervisors are expected to vote in favor of an exclusive negotiating agreement with a firm headed by San Diego businessman Floyd Kephart for the redevelopment of 200 acres around the O.co Coliseum and Oracle Arena.
Getting an agreement from both government agencies, which co-own the land and the sports facilities, is a notable achievement. That said, it probably is the easiest step.
Keeping any of the professional teams will be a huge challenge. The Warriors will be gone to their new arena in San Francisco—the ownership team has purchased land in the city and will move the team there.
That's the clear case. The A's ownership has made no secret of its desire to move to either Fremont (that deal fell through) or better yet for them, Santa Clara County. There's the matter that the San Francisco Giants have the Santa Clara County territory and Major League Baseball has done nothing but delay any formal decision. That's an outside bet at best for the A's, although logically a San Francisco team and a South Bay team makes lots of sense geographically.
If Kephart can figure out a deal for a new baseball stadium that the A's ownership buys into, that could be the best deal for the city and county—81 or more dates creates a lot more activity than 10 pro football games.
Mark Davis, the Raiders' owner, has been open to remaining in Oakland, but will need plenty of financing help to build a new stadium.
The Coliseum City is an aggressive plan to build what would amount to an entire new community within a tough part of Oakland. It would include 5,800 residential units, office towers and retail built around the Coliseum BART station transit hub.
Kephart now has two long checklists to meet over the next six months to keep the exclusive negotiating agreement.
Hanging over the Raiders' potential deal are the two potential options in Los Angeles. A potential stadium in Carson to be shared by the Raiders and the San Diego Chargers is moving ahead in the political process, while Rams' owner Stan Kroenke, among the wealthiest NFL owners, is ahead of the curve with his plans a stadium as part of a major project at a former horseracing track in Inglewood.
Nothing is ever easy in Oakland, but the hurdles here, with some politicians still rightly smarting from the $100 million in debt still to be paid from the expansion of the Coliseum for the Raiders (that wrecked it as a baseball stadium), the odds may be better going all in on red at the roulette wheel.

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