OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — The City of Oakland has entered into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with the African American Sports and Entertainment Group (AASEG) regarding development of the Oakland Coliseum site. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao and several other Oakland elected officials and community leaders were on-hand for a press conference Thursday along with representatives of AASEG to announce the agreement.
The agreement concerns the city’s 50% interest in the Coliseum complex. That would make the agreement, potentially, the largest transfer of public land to an African American-owned business in Oakland’s history, according to a post on the city’s website.
“We are talking about an organization that is leading Black-owned businesses partnering with Black-owned investment firms, working to bring housing and Black-owned businesses to our town creating jobs in East Oakland,” said Mayor Thao, “and is the largest development opportunity for an African-American led group in Oakland’s history.”
Thao said the agreement would potentially bring new public facilities, retail to an underserved area of the city, hospitality opportunities, affordable housing and new sports teams to the city.
Thao also said the agreement has the potential to bring between 20 and 30 thousand new, high-paying jobs to the city.
“The best way we can reduce crime is to create jobs,” Mayor Thao said, “and this is going to bring so many jobs — good union jobs as well — because we know it is good union jobs that will get our families to stay here.”
KRON On is streaming live news now
“Awarding the development agreement of this vital site to an Oakland-based African American led business entity will go far in addressing glaring racial disparities within the City of Oakland’s contracting practices. This project will foster economic parity, entrepreneurial and local small business opportunities,” said AASEG founder Ray Bobbitt.
The agreement opens a clearer path for AASEG acquiring and developing the Oakland Coliseum site. The group has also expressed an interest in bringing Black-led NFL and WNBA teams to the city. This follows the recent high-profile departure of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and the NFL’s one-time Oakland Raiders from the city.
Currently, the city’s one remaining major sports franchise, the Oakland A’s, is trying to push through a new waterfront ballpark development at Howard Terminal.
AASEG has two years to negotiate with the city and bring a plan back to the Oakland City Council.