With a Friday deadline for Coliseum City developer Floyd Kephart to present his final financial proposal to city and county leaders, Oakland’s point-person on the project, Assistant City Administrator Claudia Cappio signaled today that other options are also being pursued for stadiums to house the Raiders and Athletics. “We’re still working on what I believe will be a very serious offer in the near term to both sports stadiums in order to keep them here,” Cappio said at a press conference Friday afternoon in front of Oakland City Hall.
The exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) that the city and Alameda County officials signed last year with Kephart’s group is due to expire on September 24.
Cappio described stadium discussions with both Raiders and Athletics officials in positive terms. “There is honesty and forthrightness at both sides of the table,” she said.
As stated in the ENA, Oakland and Alameda County are able to explore alternative proposals to Kephart’s Coliseum City plan and they appear to be acting on that right. When asked by a reporter whether the city is studying a separate proposal, Cappio said, “I’m looking at all my options in order to fully inform my decision.” She viewed the stadium situation as a “three-pronged path” that includes the Raiders, the Athletics, and Kephart’s proposal.
The Oakland City Council and Alameda County Board of Supervisors will not receive the city’s findings over Kephart’s proposal until after they return from the August recess, said Cappio, and won’t make a determination until sometime in mid-to-late September. Three choices will be available to them, added Cappio. Elected officials can choose to extend Kephart’s proposal, allow it to expire, or seek a more “serious” financial arrangement with the developer.
She added that the city is only focusing on ways to fund infrastructure for the proposed Coliseum redevelopment, such as sewers, storm drains, streets, and lighting. “In any development, that would be required with city participation,” said Cappio. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has been adamantly opposed to using taxpayers’ money help build a new stadium for the Raiders, but willing to support financing its underlining infrastructure.
Cappio acknowledged a significant funding gap exists for building a football stadium estimated to cost around $1 billion. The Raiders and the NFL have pledged $400 million to the project, leaving a bulk of the funding unaccounted for. “We know what the gaps are and we’re looking at a financial framework that will fulfill that,” she said. “We’re trying to find hundreds of millions of dollars in order to make this deal work.” Cappio declined to say exactly how much.
One of the options is funding the estimated $600 million gap through Kephart’s proposal, but Cappio added, “There’s a lot more that we can look at in terms of our tools that we can bring to the table.”
Meanwhile, the specter of the Raiders joining the San Diego Chargers in Los Angeles still remains a threat to Oakland. Last week, the Carmen Policy, the former San Francisco 49ers executive involved in the Carson stadium project, said both the Raiders and Chargers are committed to Los Angeles. In the past, Raiders owner Mark Davis has said that his first choice is to remain in Oakland. When asked whether Policy’s comment was sobering news, Cappio responded, “I’m not easily discouraged.”
The other current Coliseum tenant looking for a new home, the A’s, have also been engaging the city in new ballpark talks, said Cappio. She described the discussions as “fruitful.”
“We’re looking at all their needs,” she said, specifically issues such as parking, land use, and staging construction of new stadiums while both teams continue to play at the current Coliseum.