JPA February 17 meeting, notes from Oakland Roots’ Lindsay Barenz & Lydia Tan

The Joint Powers Authority met on February 17 and hosted Oakland Roots’ president Lindsay Barenz and chief real estate officer Lydia Tan to discuss the organization’s vision for the Malibu Lot. It was clarified at the beginning to the meeting that there was no agenda to take or recommend action on the subject.

Provided is a transcript of some key quotes from Barenz and Tan’s presentation, and some graphics that were available at the Friday meeting. Here is a link to a full video.

Lindsay Barenz

“Our purpose is to harness the magic of Oakland and the power of sport as a force of social good. From Day 1, we have focused on increasing the health, equity, and happiness in Oakland by winning soccer games, developing local talent, improving access to sport, and being a sustainable pro sports team in Oakland….

“… And this year, we are very excited to launch Oakland Soul, our women’s soccer team. Soul will begin play this year in the USL W League, a pre-professional league. We plan to promote Soul to Super League, a professional women’s league launching in 2024, as soon as we have a venue to accommodate two professional teams.

“In just a few years, the Oakland Roots and Oakland Soul have grown dramatically. We regularly sellout our current game day venue at Laney College. Last year, we distributed over 60,000 tickets. We have nearly 100,000 followers across our social media platforms and more than 50,000 individuals on our mailing list. Our Fan Net promoter score is over 80, that means people have a really good time at our games…

“… We have 65 full-time employees and 82 part-time employees, those numbers will grow significantly when we have our own venue… Right now, we play our games at Laney College. We love playing at Laney, but we cannot continue playing there beyond 2024. The venue is too small and we cannot accommodate all of our fans or generate enough revenue to cover the cost of putting on our games. Laney, rightly, puts their students’ needs first, but that creates uncertainty for us that we can’t have as a professional team. We put down and pick up a soccer pitch for every game. Pitches aren’t made for that, and ours is rapidly deteriorating. We want to make Soul a fully professional team but we can’t do that at Laney because there aren’t enough available dates to add a second professional team.

“Finally, the Oakland Roots would like to express our support for AASEG and the redevelopment of the Coliseum. We believe there is a path forward that allows a gameday home for Roots and Soul, and allows for the full and timely development of the Coliseum property.”

Regarding funding for new stadium: “There are a lot of factors that are yet to be determined that will determine how much the site will cost to develop and how much the structure will cost to build. But our ownership is confident that with the right structure, they can find funding for this temporary stadium in Oakland.”

Lydia Tan

“When we started to think about what an interim stadium would look like as we are looking for a long-term home, this is the list of things. One is a 10,000 fan capacity so that it can continue to grow, the ability to schedule both the Roots and the Souls’ games, accessible locations, and available parking. Our lease with Laney expires in 2024, so we are looking for an interim home starting in 2025, which is very quick. As a result, we started to narrow our search down to sites that already have the underlying zoning in place so we can be up and running very quickly.

“The last one, which is really important, is because this is an interim stadium, the idea of doing as little intervention as possible to make the site ready for us was important. A modular stadium system is essentially a kit of parts that get delivered to the site, get assembled up, and once we are ready to leave and move to our permanent home we can disassemble and carry the stadium away…

“… We had good beginning conversations with the JPA team about making sure there was never a point in time where there were three events happening at the same time simply to accommodate the need for parking and coordination. As we talked through schedules, we actually think that’s a very doable goal… Then talking with the JPA, initial conversations with AASEG, to really understand their long term development plans to make sure that we are completely aligned in their plans to redevelop the Coliseum–so we can support and make sure we structure any plans to make sure they have a clear pathway to redevelopment. “

When asked about drainage issue: “… The site is high in the middle by about eight feet or so. In terms of being able to have a flat field to play with, we know we will have to regrade the site to a certain extent. And we would take on drainage [issues], we’ve already talked about some strategies for keeping the storm water on site. So the improvements we’re proposing may actually help long term for the site as well.

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