Ronnie Lott group leads charge for Oakland Raiders

The City of Oakland and Alameda County appear to be throwing a Hail Mary with their fingers crossed that the Raiders will remain in Northern California.

City and county Leaders are vying for the NFL’s ear to derail a vote that requires 24 of 32 team owners to approve a Raiders move from Oakland to Las Vegas with a plan that leaders say is the best plan they’ve ever achieved.

NFL Hall of Famer and the figurehead for the newest movement to keep the Raiders in the Bay Area, Ronnie Lott, said that a new stadium being built in Oakland is “bigger than all of us”:

“This shows what is possible when the Bay Area comes together — community leaders, business, working people, athletes, government officials and fans. This is about what it means to be from Oakland, and the values we share as a region. If we put those things forward, we believe we have a fighting opportunity to keep the Raiders here and join in revitalizing the community around the Coliseum.”

The city would invest up to $200 million to construct infrastructure, site preparation and other related expenses that are part of the scope of the project but are not hard construction costs for the stadium.

This investment would include an approximately $100 million privately-placed bond secured by new, direct City “but for” taxes generated by the stadium, with the Lott Group and Fortress leading private placement of the bond.

The proposal also includes the city and the county will offering approximately 105 acres of real property at the Coliseum site to the Lott Group/Fortress for development of the stadium, parking, and mixed-use development. Another possible 25 acres, from the 10-acre Oracle Arena site and the 15 acres reserved for a possible A’s ballpark, would also be conveyed if no longer needed for the reserved uses.

And the kicker, which would be a huge win for Schaff after her promises that public money would be scantily available for a stadium in a modern day shakedown, would be that the balance of any construction cost for the stadium will be borne 100 percent by parties including the NFL, the Raiders, and the Lott Group/Fortress, with the Lott Group/Fortress willing to bridge any financing gaps in accordance with agreed-upon terms.

Oakland city councilman Larry Reid, said in a statement:

“This is the best plan the City and County have ever achieved in attempting to keep the Raiders in Oakland. We are offering control of the land, a respected investment team, and no risk to taxpayers in putting this deal together. This shows the public, the Raiders’ ownership and the NFL that there is a viable plan to remain in Oakland.”

In a joint press release between Oakland and the county, Alameda County supervisor Scott Haggerty said:

“This is an important and united step forward to make a competitive offer forward to the Raiders and the NFL to encourage the team to stay here without using taxpayer monies.”

Oakland mayor Libby Schaff campaigned on the promise that no tax dollars would be spent on a new football or baseball stadium. She’s kept that promise so far, including her concession to provide funds to improve infrastructure. The roads surrounding the Coliseum site are cratered with potholes and the area has a reputation for being less than savory.

A long-floated idea is that a new stadium could jump-start a revitalization process, just like what AT&T Park did for San Francisco and the China Basin neighborhood which was riddled with crime prior to the building of a new ballpark.

The area around AT&T Park is now for the wealthy, with a one bedroom condo is selling for $1.1 million, and the walk along the Embarcadero doesn’t end near 3rd and King.

That’s what’s in it for Oakland: A vision, along with some political capital heading into the next election. For fans, Schaff says, the plan is responsible and still keeps the Raiders in Oakland:

“This term sheet agreement puts Oakland in the running to keep the Raiders in a way that is responsible to the team, the league, the fans and the taxpayers. Everything the City and County and the investor team is doing is about putting forward the best offer to encourage the Raiders ownership and the NFL to keep the Raiders in Oakland, where the team belongs.”

According to the joint powers authority, the key elements of the plan include:

  • An economically viable proposal that can keep team in Oakland and Alameda County with no taxpayer monies, but instead the use of the Coliseum land.
  • A professional group of investors to develop the stadium and other associated mixed-use projects to support cost of stadium.
  • The creation of a major Grand Central station-like development around the property that incorporates and enhances the use of the BART station.
  • A location for a new Oakland A’s stadium should the Major League Baseball team determine it wants to remain at the Coliseum site.

The Lott Group/Fortress or the Raiders will be responsible for managing the sales of seat options at the stadium, with anticipated sales revenue from such options estimated at $200 million.

Lott partner and NFL star Rodney Peete added:

“If approved, this deal achieves many objectives, It shows the Raiders and the NFL that we are serious. It insulates the City and County general funds from exposure. It will create thousands of local jobs in the construction phase alone, and thousands more from the operation of the stadium. It will create a new East Bay transportation hub. It will keep millions of dollars in player income taxes in the State of California. It will keep an iconic cultural institution. And most importantly, it will be a symbol of what is possible when you create a stadium that puts the community first.”

Lott and Peete head Oakland Pro Football LLC, who are working with investment manager Fortress Investment Group LLC on plans for the stadium financing and multi-use development..

The County of Alameda will hold a public hearing and vote at 11:00 am on Tuesday, Dec. 13 and the Oakland City Council will hold a hearing and vote at 6:30 pm on the same day as part of an expedited financial development proposal and exclusive negotiation agreement to offer to build a new stadium.