The very public announcement last week by the owners of the Golden State Warriors that they plan to move the team to a new arena in San Francisco represented a significant blow for Oakland’s plans to build Coliseum City in East Oakland. Without the Warriors, the proposed sports, entertainment, retail, and housing complex will lack a major tenant that would bring 20,000 fans to the area at least forty times a year. However, as bleak as things look for Oakland basketball fans right now, the city should not give up hope on Coliseum City. It still represents Oakland’s best chance for keeping the A’s and the Raiders in town. Plus, the Warriors’ planned move to San Francisco is by no means a done deal, especially when considering the typically contentious nature of major development projects in that city.
Just ask Larry Ellison. The plans by the Oracle founder for a major development on San Francisco’s waterfront were on the very same site — Piers 30-32 — now being eyed by Warriors’ owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber. But Ellison’s plans belly-flopped earlier this year after facing much opposition in the city. And the San Francisco Chronicle reported last weekend that support for the Warriors’ plan on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors appears to be tepid, and that some supervisors intend to demand substantial concessions from the team.
It’s also worth noting how rapidly things can change in the world of sports — and that no city knows that better than Oakland. The Raiders, for example, abandoned the city once before, and were previously involved in a nasty lawsuit with the city and Alameda County for many years. But now, the Raiders are the one professional sports team that actually wants to stay here.
In other words, Oakland would be smart to forge ahead with Coliseum City, particularly since the A’s’ proposed move to San Jose, which once seemed as viable as the Warriors’ plans for San Francisco, now appears to be dead in the water as well.