Oakland city officials have signed an exclusive negotiating agreement with a Black-owned company to develop the site of the RingCentral Coliseum, aiming to bring sorely needed jobs, housing and more to East Oakland.
The company called the African American Sports and Entertainment Group is also hoping to bring a Women’s National Basketball Association team and a Black-led NFL team to Oakland.
Company leader Ray Bobbitt and elected city officials made the announcement from the Coliseum, where the Oakland A’s play. The A’s own 50 percent of the Coliseum site and have a lease to play there until 2024.
“We need to invest in deep East Oakland,” Mayor Sheng Thao said at the announcement this past Thursday, adding that the area is underserved.
The opportunity can bring 20,000 to 30,000 new, good-paying jobs to East Oakland, so residents can live, work, play and raise a family there, Thao said.
“This is a monumental historic opportunity for our community,” Bobbitt said at the announcement.
His firm, based in Oakland, includes former city leaders such as Robert Bobb, who was city manager.
“This is a monumental historic opportunity for our community.”Ray Bobbitt, African American Sports and Entertainment Group
Bobbitt touted the effort his company has made to find out what East Oaklanders want to see in the development. Some say the agreement is the largest transfer of public land in Oakland to the Black community.
“May we continue to build on this incredible moment,” said Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan, who led the City Council forward to an agreement with the sports and entertainment group.
Kaplan added that city officials have already approved a public service center for East Oakland. That way residents can avoid having to go downtown for some services.
“It’s not what we say, but what we do,” said City Councilmember Noel Gallo, who helped author the resolution for the exclusive negotiating agreement.
Gallo said the Oakland A’s have no choice but to negotiate with the city and the sports and entertainment group. The A’s did not comment on Thursday’s announcement.
Gallo has been supportive of keeping the A’s at the Coliseum site rather than having them build a new stadium at the Charles P. Howard Terminal in Oakland, which is the team’s preferred option.