So, last month I wrote that fans of the Oakland A’s and Oakland Raiders might be in for a gigantic session of 15-Puzzle — you know, the annoying little game in which you have to shift numbered squares around a board to get them in the right sequence. With talk of building a new stadium or two at the current site of the Oakland Coliseum, with uncertainties over the teams’ leases at the Coliseum, with A’s owner Lew Wolff anxious to move to San Jose and talking about building a temporary stadium somewhere, it looked like the teams’ followers might be in for a prolonged period of following the teams from one stadium to another while their next real, permanent, long-term homes were being built.
Now it looks like the 15-puzzle analogy isn’t quite holding up.
At a public meeting last Saturday for Oakland’s Coliseum City project, planners said that their design would keep the existing Coliseum standing so that games could continue there while a new football stadium for the Raiders and/or baseball park for the A’s are built next to it. So much for all of those “temporary ballpark” trial balloons.
You can read the planning documents for Coliseum City here: City of Oakland Coliseum Area Specific Plan. And a comprehensive Storify of Saturday’s meeting was assembled by @greenkozi here: Coliseum City Meeting, April 26, 2014.
The city expects to release its draft environmental impact report and specific area plan in the next 60 days, and to gather more public comment over the summer before taking a plan to the City Council in the fall. If all goes according to schedule, shovels would be in the ground in 2015 and the new ballpark and stadium would open in 2018.
Of course, that’s a big if: It will require lots of money, from a variety of sources, and commitments from the teams and their respective leagues.
In other stadium-related news: The San Jose v. Major League Baseball case isn’t on the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals schedule for July (thanks to sports law prof @NathanielGrow for pointing that out), making it that much less likely there will be any legal resolution before the A’s land option in San Jose expires in November — which may make the case moot.
Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors and the Coliseum Authority disagree about whether the Warriors will have to pay the remainder of their share of the renovation costs to Oracle Arena — reportedly more than $60 million — assuming they leave for a new San Francisco location after their lease expires in 2017.