By Scott Morris
Bay City News
The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority finalized its approval Wednesday of an agreement to extend the Oakland A’s lease at the O.co Coliseum for the next decade.
The panel, made up of representatives from Oakland and Alameda County, unanimously approved the agreement, bringing a 15-month negotiating process to a close to keep the A’s in Oakland.
The JPA approved an earlier version of the agreement on July 3 but it underwent minor changes when the Oakland City Council approved it two weeks later. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors then approved the updated version of the deal last week.
The agreement includes an escape clause that allows the A’s to leave the Coliseum after the 2018 Major League Baseball season. However, they would still have to pay rent until the end of the agreement in 2024 unless they moved to another site in Oakland.
The team has threatened to move to other cities such as San Jose or Fremont in recent years.
The agreement allows the city to force the A’s out of the Coliseum if a deal to develop the site for a football-only stadium for the Oakland Raiders comes together. The Raiders currently share the use of the stadium with the A’s.
Other aspects of the deal include a plan for the A’s to buy and install a new $10 million scoreboard for the Coliseum before the 2015 season.
“This is the conclusion of a long but important process,” Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan said at today’s meeting.
There were times when it looked like negotiations had stalled, but Kaplan credited Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty and Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid with keeping them moving.
The deal, she said, is worth $20 million to the public but includes no taxpayer subsidy and will improve the A’s fan experience with improved lighting and the new scoreboard.
Both she and county Supervisor Nate Miley said they hoped it was a first step to keeping the A’s in Oakland permanently.
Kaplan reiterated that the city hopes to keep both the A’s and Raiders in Oakland. To Raiders fans, she said, “We love you, and your stadium will be part of our vision too.”