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Oakland A’s headed toward exclusive negotiating rights to Coliseum complex

Another small step forward in the never-ending stadium saga.

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s offered to buy the Coliseum complex this week, in a letter to the Oakland mayor and city council. On Wednesday, Mayor Libby Schaaf responded by recommending that the A’s receive exclusive negotiating rights to both of their leading potential stadium sites: the Coliseum, and Howard Terminal.

Schaaf’s statement (or see video below):

“I am so excited to be supporting exclusive negotiating agreements at both the Coliseum and Howard Terminal, so that we double our chances to keep the A’s rooted in Oakland.”

The ENA (exclusive negotiating agreement) for the Coliseum will still need to be approved by the city council, while the one for Howard Terminal needs approval from the Commissioners of the Port of Oakland, says David DeBolt of the East Bay Times.

When the A’s offered to purchase the Coliseum in exchange for paying off the city’s $135 million in remaining debt on the site, the biggest initial question was whether any other interested parties might outbid them for the land. Now that potential roadblock is nearly out of the way for now, as it looks like the A’s will get their exclusive chance to make a deal work. Their original letter to the mayor had included a request for such an ENA.

None of this news takes us any closer to knowing where the new stadium will eventually end up. Both sites are still in play, and even the Peralta District/Laney College possibility has only been “suspended,” in the team’s own words. However, this does feel like one step closer to the A’s locking in their future in Oakland one way or other, both in terms of moving toward outright owning a viable site and in terms of the city clearly making an effort to work with them. The NBA’s Warriors are already set to move to San Francisco in a couple years, and the NFL’s Raiders wanted the Coliseum site for free and are now instead headed to Las Vegas.

Correction: The original version of this story claimed the A’s had already received the ENAs, but actually they only got the mayoral recommendation. Final approval is still pending.