The Oakland Athletics, a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise, has declined an offer from the African American Sports and Entertainment Group (AASEG) to purchase their share of the Oakland Coliseum. The A’s have no intention of giving up their portion of the 155-acre complex, which they believe is not suitable for professional baseball.
A day after AASEG made an undisclosed offer, A’s President Dave Kaval sent a letter to AASEG co-founder Ray Bobbitt, expressing the team’s disinterest in selling their stake in the Coliseum. Kaval thanked AASEG for their efforts but made it clear that they were not open to selling or disposing of their interest in the property at this time.
The rejection has the potential to delay a $5 billion redevelopment plan for the 57-year-old complex, which includes the baseball stadium, Oakland Arena, and a large parking lot. The redevelopment proposal aims to introduce residential areas, shops, restaurants, nightlife options, and even Black-owned NFL and WNBA teams.
In 2019, the A’s acquired 50% of the property rights to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum complex for $85 million. The City of Oakland has already reached a deal with AASEG, offering to sell their half-interest in the property for $115 million.
AASEG’s proposal included the possibility of negotiating with the A’s, considering the team’s plan to construct a new ballpark in Las Vegas by 2028. However, the rejection from the billionaire-owned team leaves one remaining option for supporters of stadium redevelopment in Oakland: seizing the site from the A’s through eminent domain.
If the city decides to pursue eminent domain, they would need to prove that their previous attempts to purchase the property were unsuccessful and that acquiring it would serve the public interest. While it is common for land to be claimed for public projects like stadium development, transferring it to a private developer is less typical.
AASEG is a consortium of black-owned investors, which includes individuals such as former Oakland City Manager Robert Bobb and former NBA player and sports agent Bill Duffy. They have also partnered with retired WNBA star Alana Beard to attract a women’s professional basketball franchise to the East Bay city.
In conclusion, the Oakland A’s have rejected an offer from AASEG to buy their share of the Oakland Coliseum. This decision puts the $5 billion redevelopment plan on hold, potentially giving rise to the option of eminent domain. AASEG, consisting of black-owned investors, still hopes to contribute to the development of the site and bring a women’s professional basketball franchise to Oakland.
– San Jose Mercury News