News


Secret meetings lead to $1.3 billion stadium plan to keep Raiders in Oakland

Oakland Council, Alameda County Board of Supervisors to vote on proposal tomorrow

After months of secret meetings, Oakland and Alameda County officials late Friday announced a plan to build a new $1.3 billion stadium aimed at keeping the Raiders football team in Oakland and stopping it from moving to Las Vegas.

The last-minute release of a financial and development plan to build a new stadium and a mixed-use development prevents the public from

having much time to examine and debate it before the Oakland City Council and Alameda County Board of Supervisors vote on it on Tuesday.

City and county officials are rushing to get the plan approved because National Football League owners could vote as early as January on the

Raiders' plan to move to Las Vegas, which includes $750 million in hotel tax money approved by the state of Nevada.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement, "This term sheet agreement puts Oakland in the running to keep the Raiders in a way that is

responsible to the team, the league, the fans and the taxpayers."

Schaaf said, "Everything the city and county and the investor team is doing is about putting forward the best offer to encourage the Raiders ownership and the NFL to keep the Raiders in Oakland, where the team belongs."

The plan includes a large injection of money by an investment group headed by former pro football star Ronnie Lott, who spent most of his

career with the San Francisco 49ers but also played with the Raiders when they were in Los Angeles and with the New York Jets.

Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty said the Ronnie Lott Group and Fortress Investment Group of New York, which also would invest in the project, "care about our community and have the financial wherewithal to bridge the financing gap that has previously existed in our stadium talks."

He said, "They care about Alameda County and Oakland and keeping the Raiders here."

Haggerty said, "This is an important and united step forward to make a competitive offer to the Raiders and the NFL to encourage the team to

stay here without using taxpayer monies.

Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid, who also chairs the board that oversees the Oakland Coliseum complex's operations, said, "This is the best plan the city and county have ever achieved in attempting to keep the Raiders in Oakland."

Reid said, "We are offering control of the land, a respected investment team, and no risk to taxpayers in putting this deal together. This

shows the public, the Raiders' ownership and the NFL that there is a viable plan to remain in Oakland."

City and county officials said they believe the plan is an economically viable proposal that can keep team in Oakland with no taxpayer monies but will instead include the use of land at the Coliseum site.

They said it will include mixed-use projects to support the cost of the stadium and create a "Grand Central Station-like development" around the property that incorporates and enhances the use of the Coliseum BART station.

City and county officials said the plan also contains a site for a new baseball stadium for the Oakland A's should the team decide it wants to

remain at the Coliseum site instead of building a new stadium on the Oakland waterfront or another site.

Former pro football player Rodney Peete, who heads Oakland Pro Football LLC along with Lot, said "This deal achieves many objectives. It shows the Raiders and the NFL that we are serious and insulates the city and county general funds from exposure."

Peete said the plan will create thousands of local jobs in the construction phase alone, thousands more from the operation of the stadium and create a new East Bay transportation hub.

Fortress Investment spokesman Gordon Runte said, "We are encouraged about the progress made to date on plans to present the Raiders and Bay Area with an attractive alternative that we believe can provide substantial long-term benefits to all stakeholders."

Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi and Auditor-Controller Steve Manning said in a memo to the Board of Supervisors Friday that the city of Oakland will invest $200 million to construct infrastructure, site preparations and other related expenses that are part of the scope of the project but aren't hard construction costs for the new stadium.

They said that will consist of a $100 million privately-placed bond secured by direct city taxes generated by the stadium and a $100 million enhanced infrastructure financial district bond or other financing secured by the city.

Muranishi and Manning said, "The city will not bond in any manner that puts the city's general purpose fund at risk" so the parties anticipate the probability that Lott's group or another private party will need to provide or secure bridge funding for part of the bonds.

The county officials said, "The county shall not have responsibility for contributing any funding or financing any improvements for the project."

Muranishi and Manning said the term sheet provides that neither Lott's group nor the Raiders will be responsible for the estimated $95

million debt for the 1995 renovation of the oliseum that lured the football team back to Oakland.

They said, "The city and the county will need to address the existing Coliseum bond debt prior to conveying the project site."

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing and vote on the plan at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 13 and the Oakland City

Council will hold a hearing and vote at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

— Bay City News Service

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