Oakland’s 50-year old Coliseum area is home to the Raiders, the A’s, the Golden State Warriors and a sea of surface parking. The City of Oakland and Alameda County own the arena and the coliseum stadium; the sports franchises are lessees. As the facilities age and the sports teams consider their options for relocating elsewhere, the 350-acre site presents the City with a complex series of urban planning challenges: how to maximize the retention of the professional sports franchises that they do not control with a politically and financially feasible plan that includes new sports facilities plus retail, restaurant, hotel, office, R&D and residential development? There is much at stake and a host of moving parts.
The City’s answer has been to launch a substantial planning effort in the form of the Coliseum Area Specific Plan. At the outset, the work was bifurcated into two groups: one, led by local design firm JRDV Architects, has the job of coming up with a compelling physical and financial plan for new sports facilities and related or supporting land uses that demonstrates the financial feasibility of its implementation. Implicit in this assignment is the task of obtaining commitments from as many of the sports franchises as possible to remain in Oakland as lessees in the new stadiums.
The other half of the effort, led by Lamphier-Gregory, involves the actual writing of the Specific Plan - providing the City with a working document or guide for decision-makers in determining the nature, scale, type and functional relationships among future land uses there, and preparing an EIR so that the Plan can be adopted and implementation can proceed. Given the uncertainty regarding the future of the sports teams (made real by the Warriors efforts to relocate to Pier 30-32 on the San Francisco waterfront, and the A’s stated desire to relocate to San Jose) the Plan, of necessity, is a flexible strategy that can accommodate all - or none - of the sports facilities. The Specific Plan establishes a land use and development framework, identifies transportation and infrastructure improvements, and recommends implementation strategies. While the proposed Project presents one vision for how the Coliseum Area might ultimately be developed (the Master Plan), it also provides flexibility for other potential land use outcomes.
As of this writing the Master Plan for Coliseum City has been released publicly and work on the technical aspects of the Specific Plan and EIR are underway.
Images courtesy of JRDV Architects/City of Oakland