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City of Oakland Strikes Historic Deal to Revitalize Coliseum

NBC Bay Area 2/3/2023 Abbey Fernández
Oakland Coliseum. © Provided by NBC Bay Area

Oakland Coliseum.

Oakland city leaders on Thursday entered a historic agreement that could revitalize the Coliseum complex and possibly bring a new sports team to the East Bay's largest city.

The city announced it's launching a partnership with the African American Sports and Entertainment Group in a deal that includes an exclusive negotiating agreement to develop the Coliseum complex.

As the Athletics entertain relocation prospects, many Oakland community members have been wondering what will happen to the Coliseum. Thursday's deal is the initial step toward the future.

"We're talking about new public facilities … more retail in an underserved part of Oakland … hospitaility and entertainment options, more sports," Mayor Sheng Thao said. "We're talking about affordable housing, so that we can keep those who have lived here in Oakland for generations and their families can continue to live here."

The Oakland-based AASEG was founded in 2020 with a mission to use sports and entertainment to create a path for enhanced economic equity for the black community. The group wants to transform the hundreds of acres of land surrounding the Coliseum site into a center for sports, entertainment and residential use.

The group's other visions include forming the first majority Black-owned NFL franchise and bringing a WNBA team to Oakland.

Councilmember Treva Reid represents part of east Oakland and believes these investments could impact generations to come.

“If you look at nearly every disparity rate, we are struggling with that crippling impact and so, we want to see what will take place here and how that will have a ripple effect,” Reid said.

AASEG will have two years to bring a final proposal to city council. But to make their dreams a reality, they will also need to work with the Oakland A’s, who own half the property.

“Our goal is to just cooperate together and figure out what the best use of the site is for the community to move forward. We are hopeful that piece can be connected too,” said AASEG founder Ray Bobbitt.

With city council’s support, many see this as an opportunity to create a new future for a city that’s desperate for change.

“We have lost tens of thousands of black residents in our city and it is a state of emergency and hopefully with this project, we can stop the bleeding,” said Oakland District 6 Councilmember Kevin Jenkins.

The deal reportedly is the largest transfer of public land to an African American-led group in Oakland’s 171-year history.

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