An Alameda County Superior Court judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit the city of Oakland filed against Alameda County seeking to stop it from selling its half ownership of the 155-acre Coliseum complex to the Oakland A’s baseball team for $85 million. The ruling by Judge Frank Roesch at a brief hearing was a formality because the Oakland City Council voted late Wednesday to drop the suit it filed against the county on Sept. 27.
The City Council had voted last week to enter into exclusive negotiations with the A’s to sell the city’s half of the Coliseum to the team. The city and the county have jointly owned the Coliseum complex since 1964 and the city has been trying to buy the county’s half of the property, but the talks broke down in February.
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted on April 23 to authorize negotiations with the A’s to sell the county’s half interest for $85 million. The county’s proposal to sell its share of the Coliseum property to the A’s, who currently play at the aging stadium there, comes as the team is pursuing a plan to build a new ballpark at the Howard Terminal waterfront site north of Jack London Square.
The A’s want to redevelop the existing Coliseum complex into a site that could include a large park, housing and businesses. The city of Oakland’s lawsuit accused the county of violating the Surplus Land Act, a state law that requires publicly owned surplus lands to be considered for affordable housing before the lands are sold or leased.
Roesch issued a temporary restraining order against Alameda County on Oct. 1 and at the hearing on Thursday he was to consider the city’s request to issue a preliminary injunction, which would have extended the restraining order. After Roesch dismissed the lawsuit, Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval said, “We’re really excited we’re putting this behind us so we can transact with the county and move forward with our deal on the Coliseum.” Kaval said, “We’re working hand in hand with both the city and county on a partnership that works for everyone.” He said, “Good faith negotiations carried the day and we’re putting the lawsuit behind us and we thank everyone for getting it away and we can focus on a deal.”
A group of 80 local business leaders called Town Business that held a news conference on the steps of City Hall last week calling on the city to drop its lawsuit issued a statement saying it’s “thrilled” that the suit has been dismissed. Town Business said, “Our hope now is for the city, A’s, and county to work collaboratively to keep the A’s in Oakland and deliver real economic and community benefits through a new privately-financed ballpark at Jack London Square and revitalized Coliseum district.” The group said it “stands ready to support these vital projects in every way possible.”