Elaine Brown, former Black Panther Party leader and CEO of Oakland & the World Enterprises (OAW), has teamed up with master developer McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS), to create The Coliseum Dream development project.
Highlights of the Dream project are: readiness to purchase the city’s 50% interest; positive discussions with the Oakland A’s; installation of Black Panther Studios as development anchor, which will be the first Black-owned film studio on the West Coast; ability to finance the entire development, estimated at $5 billion; building of hundreds of affordable housing units; development of a luxury hotel and department store; creating and supporting youth tech, arts and business training centers; construction of a supermarket in a food desert; making Oakland a tourist destination.
Vince Bennett, president and CEO of MBS, a multi-billion-dollar housing developer based in St. Louis, said: “MBS is ready to immediately enter into a purchase and sale agreement with the City of Oakland and become the master developer of the entire site.”
The Coliseum Dream Development Group (CDDG) recognizes the impossibility of developing the Coliseum site solely by purchasing the city’s 50% interest. Partnership with the other 50% interest owner, the Oakland A’s, is necessary.
Brown says she has discussed the site with Dave Kaval, A’s president, over the last few years, and said, “Dave has stated he loves the idea of Black Panther Studios as the anchor of CDDG’s development vision.”
The problem CDDG faces is not readiness on its part but the City Council’s unwillingness to entertain proposals other than those two they hand-picked in a recent closed session.
In a closed session scheduled for Thursday, October 7, the Council considered the merits of its two preferred proposals, based on reports from the City Administrator. This closed session meeting arose from a vote of the Council’s Rules Committee on Thursday, September 30.
In lieu of allowing Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan’s request to push through a resolution at the Council’s October 19 meeting to enter into an agreement with the group she is promoting, the Council decided to consider the two proposals.
It’s unclear what happens next.
Brown said, “There is no process regarding the sale of the city’s interest in the Coliseum, certainly not one that is transparent.”
In a statement to the Oakland Post, Brown submitted the following questions and answers:
Q: Everybody talks about jobs and housing. Will your group be able to deliver on the promise in your Coliseum Dream proposal to create jobs and build affordable housing for the community?
A (Elaine Brown): “Oakland & the World Enterprises (OAW), of which I am CEO, is presently co-developing a $72 Million, 79-unit, 100% affordable housing project in West Oakland with master housing developer McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS), headed by CEO and President Vince Bennett.
“This reflects my ongoing commitment to the ideal of the Black Panther Party, of which I was a leading member, of Black self-determination. The track record of MBS for building affordable housing is without parallel. Not only has MBS built thousands of affordable housing units throughout the U.S., as well as, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, MBS is currently building a $1 billion development in Dayton, Ohio, the Dayton Arcade, which includes hundreds of affordable housing units and is bringing residents, jobs, and visitors back to downtown Dayton.
“Our Coliseum Dream anchor project, Black Panther Studios, alone, will create thousands of new, high-tech jobs, and we will build an affiliated tech training center to create a new generation of Black, tech-savvy “digital carpenters” to make films and enter the tech economy at a high end.
Q: Even if you are willing and able to purchase the City’s 50% interest in the Coliseum site, how can you develop the site without either purchasing the A’s 50% or partnering with the A’s?
A, (Elaine Brown): “Our team is prepared to purchase the City’s 50% interest outright, today. We have not discussed purchasing the A’s 50% interest with the A’s, but, if that were an option, we would take it. We have been in discussions with Dave Kaval, A’s president, over the last two years about our Coliseum Dream, and Dave has unequivocally stated that if we were to acquire the City’s 50%, he would work with us. And, we have told Dave, we are willing to partner with the A’s.”
The Dream Proposal is available here: https://bit.ly/thecoliseumdream
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