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Oakland Raiders in Talks to Tear Down O.co Coliseum

Jul 10 2014, 1:06am CDT | by , in News | Latest Sports News

Oakland Raiders in Talks to Tear Down O.co Coliseum
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The Oakland Raiders are currently in talks to demolish O.co Coliseum to pave the way for a new stadium next year.

The Oakland Raiders are currently in talks to demolish O.co Coliseum to pave the way for a new stadium next year. 

The latest development surprised the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority officials, who recently reached a deal with Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics which entails using O.co Coliseum for a decade, per SFGate.com's Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross: 

"While the A's are trying to negotiate a deal to stay in the O.co Coliseum for another 10 years, the Raiders are in talks to tear down the stadium next year to make way for new home for the NFL team.

"The talks, revealed in a memo to Mayor Jean Quan from planners of the city-backed Coliseum City sports-retail project, stunned officials of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority -- the agency that just reached an agreement to keep the A's in the existing ballpark for a decade.

"Representatives of Coliseum City say they expect to reach a deal with the Raiders by the end of the summer that would lead to the opening of a new football stadium on the existing site by 2018.

"'It will be critical to demolish the existing stadium in 2015, if the project is to be finished on time,' Coliseum City attorney (and local political powerhouse) Zachary Wasserman said in a July 2 memo to Quan and City Administrator Henry Gardner. 

"In the meantime, the Raiders 'are making arrangements to play elsewhere,' Wasserman wrote. Just where they might be, he doesn't say. 

"Just where the A's would play under this scenario isn't clear, either.  If the City Council and Alameda County Board of Supervisors ratify the deal reached between the A's and the Coliseum Authority, the baseball team would get two years' notice before any construction that would force them out of the ballpark. That would keep them in the Coliseum through at least the 2016 season. 

"If that happens, it would 'frustrate efforts to develop the site and disrupt the ability to deliver a stadium for the Raiders and the ancillary developments adjacent to that stadium,' Wasserman wrote. 

"Quan and the city are serious about Coliseum City, which would put a hotel, offices and housing on the current stadium site, along with a new home for the Raiders and a retail center. Wasserman noted that the city has already spent more than $4 million planning the project. 

"The A's lease extension talks, however, have complicated that planning. Quan has been pushing the idea of a baseball-only park at the Howard Terminal near Jack London Square, but A's ownership has shown zero interest.

"Instead, they've been busily negotiating with the Coliseum Authority -- which includes representatives of the city along with county officials. The City Council has been hoping for more out of the A's lease than what the Coliseum Authority approved, and it's an open question whether Oakland will ratify the deal."  

The Oakland Tribune's Matthew Artz reported on July 9 that several council members are frustrated with how things have gone with the Raiders' new stadium plans: 

"However, several council members said this week that they have been frustrated by the lack of progress on a Raiders stadium, which still faces a roughly $500 million funding gap, and did not expect the development team's concerns to impact their vote on a lease extension. 

"Councilman Noel Gallo said the development team had failed to meet any key benchmarks in their contract with the city, such as getting an official letter of support from the Raiders and bringing aboard a major developer. 'Their performance has been below basic and we should get another group to lead that effort,' he said. 

"The Raiders did not respond to an interview request on Tuesday.

"However, in an interview with this newspaper last month, Raiders owner Mark Davis said he didn't know what he would do with his team if the A's lease deal was approved. 

"'There's all kind of optons,' he said. 'But I want to make the best one.'"

Davis' MLB counterpart, Athletics owner Lew Wolff told CSN Bay Area's Joe Stiglich on July 9 his organization is not trying to stop the Raiders from building a new stadium. He also expressed his desire for the Athletics to stay in the Bay Area: 

"'Somebody has to decide if (not approving an A's lease) is a risk they would want to take,' Wolff, the A's co-owner, told CSN California on Wednesday. 'I haven't had any evidence of a financial program in place (for a Raiders) stadium. We're certainly not preventing the Raiders from building a new stadium.'

"The A's proposed lease says the A's could be forced to move from the Coliseum if the Raiders want to build, but only after giving the A's two years' notice about doing so. 

"Regarding rumors that the A's could relocate to Vancouver, Montreal or San Antonio if a lease isn't agreed upon, Wolff said: 'I've never explored any of those places. If we're denied (a lease), I'll have to take a look at what we can do next. But we want to stay in the Bay Area.'"  

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