Oakland stadium deal nears decision

Louis LaVenture ,
Sports and Campus Editor

San Diego businessman Floyd Kephart addressed a small crowd on Aug. 25 at Lungomare restaurant in Jack London Square in Oakland where he said the new stadium deal for the Oakland Raiders had a “50-50” chance of being finalized.

While the report by Kephart and his company New City Development LLC is private until city, county and team officials go over the details this week, he did note two major changes. Kephart acknowledged that one of the most controversial parts of the original deal, a 20 percent sale of the team to New City Development LLC, had been removed from the updated plans.

Kephart also acknowledged that upwards of $80 million for parking garages originally assigned to the Raiders to fund would be folded into the overall budget of the project taking the silver and black off the hook for those costs in the updated proposal.

“We have done what we have been asked to do,” Kephart said. “The rest is up to them.”

The updated proposal includes 380,000 square feet of retail space, 3,500 housing units and separate facilities for the A’s, Raiders and Warriors, which would be owned by the individual teams. However, A’s owner Lew Wolff has already said he would not be interested in a new stadium next to a football stadium and the 2015 world champion Warriors already have firm plans to move to San Francisco by 2019.

The Oakland Raiders are more than just a team to us but an integral part of our lives and culture”

The city of Oakland and Alameda County now have to negotiate with each other and then the Raiders to figure out how to fund a $400 million gap in the $900 million project. However, that might be easier said than done since noticeably absent from the address were any officials involved in the deal from the city, county or team.

Earlier this month Alameda County pulled out of the deal giving city officials exclusive rights to any stadium development project. The county co-owns the 120 acres adjacent to O.co Coliseum which need to be purchased in order to begin development.

The conduit bond primarily gets its support from revenue generated by the stadium and the surrounding development,” Kephart said. “This should offset much of the cost. We have proposed that much of that come from a conduit bond that is supported by revenues from the stadium and revenue from the commercial development that will take place in coliseum city.”

The lone official who attended the public meeting was Oakland City Councilmember Larry Reid.

“I want to see a plan to keep the team that does not use a lot of public money,” Reid said.

The city and the county are still on the hook for nearly $100 million in renovations to O.co Coliseum when the team returned from Los Angeles in 1995. Kephart met his deadline for his project proposal and city and county officials are scheduled to review it this week before making any formal announcements.

“It’s their loss, not mine,” Kephart said.

A potential joint stadium venture in Carson with the San Diego Chargers has begun to move forward and could be the potential landing spot for the franchise if a deal does not get done in Oakland. San Antonio has also been mentioned as a destination and the city has even offered their city as a temporary home for the Raiders until they can figure out a permanent plan.

An online petition created on change.org to keep the Raiders in Oakland has received over 10,000 signatures and has been submitted to team officials and specifically owner Mark Davis.

“The Oakland Raiders are more than just a team to us but an integral part of our lives and culture,” the petition stated. “This is a grassroots movement to fight and show the City of Oakland, Mark Davis, the NFL and the rest of the world that we want to fight to keep our beloved Raiders in Oakland.”