OAKLAND -- Holy Toledo, it's a deal.
After months of wrangling and public spats, the Oakland A's and the city they have called home for nearly a half-century agreed to a lease extension that could keep the team at O.co Coliseum through 2024.
"I'm very pleased that this is behind us and we can now get on with our various activities," A's owner Lew Wolff said after meeting Tuesday morning with representatives from the joint Oakland-Alameda County board that oversees the Coliseum complex.
The deal must still win approval next week from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, but the county's support has never been in doubt.
The lease negotiations had been contentious for months. In April, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, who heads the Coliseum Board, publicly criticized the A's for rejecting a previous offer.
Then last month, county leaders, the A's and Major League Baseball put intense public pressure on Oakland officials to sign off on an agreement that a majority of council members thought was one-sided in favor of the club.
Amid threats that the team could be moved from Oakland, the council relented on the economic terms of the agreement, which includes reduced rent for the A's. But council members did force through several modifications they said would provide clarity and avoid future disputes over the lease terms. At the time, Wolff said he was done negotiating, but he signaled after the vote that he would likely be amenable to the modifications, and on Tuesday he signed off on "all on all of the main City Council points."
The deal requires that Wolff engage in "good faith" discussions about building a ballpark in Oakland.
In a six-page letter to Interim City Administrator Henry Gardner last week, Wolff made perhaps his strongest indication that after nearly a decade of trying to leave Oakland, the A's are interested in developing a stadium-anchored project at the Coliseum complex. Wolff wrote that the A's were studying whether they could make an offer on the property that is jointly owned by Oakland and Alameda County and that the team would be a more accomplished developer than a development outfit with which the city is currently negotiating.
Wolff reiterated on Tuesday that the difficult lease negotiations over the past two years wouldn't sour him on dealing with Oakland should he decide to move forward with a new stadium at the Coliseum site.
"Every time I do something, I put it behind me," he said. "I don't judge the future by the past. I can work with anyone long-term--who's willing to work with me."
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