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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

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How arenas like the Oakland Coliseum became emblematic of California’s housing crisis

By Erika Paz, Calmatters, August 24, 2021

“Anaheim and San Diego have been cited by California’s Department of Housing and Community Development for failing to comply with an affordable housing law as part of their multimillion-dollar stadium and arena plans. A third investigation into the Oakland Coliseum redevelopment project, which was triggered by a lawsuit, could result in a $25.5 million penalty against the taxpayers of Alameda County.

“Housing advocates point to sports arenas as proof that market forces won’t deliver enough housing where at least 1.8 million units are needed by 2025. They contend the public is being shortchanged on affordable units in these deals. For parcels that have an opportunity to create housing, the projects should include at least 25 percent affordable housing.

These investigations are based on AB 1468 (Ting), amending the Surplus Land Act to allow “the Department of Housing and Community Development to track all public land deals and levy fines of as much as 30 percent of the real estate deal.

“Housing advocates say it’s still too early to declare the law a success, but having these three high-profile cases in the first year should encourage local agencies to carefully consider how they move forward on public land.

“Alameda County is waiting for the state to make a determination on its $85 million Oakland Coliseum sale to the A’s. The state housing agency declined to comment, saying it’s in the early stages of its investigation. But even before the sale was approved by the county board, Alameda had been challenged for not following state law.

“The transaction has left Oakland in a tricky spot as it tries to salvage a redevelopment plan for the stadium that will satisfy the baseball team to stay.”

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