Raiders Coliseum City fairy tale adds its prince

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is pulling out all the stops to try and get the Coliseum City project on track. The success, or perceived success, of the project could be the deciding factor as to whether she is re-elected. With that in mind, she announced recently that the project has a new investor - The Prince of Dubai.

It's enough to make Raiders fans have visions of Aladdin with Jean Quan as the Genie conjuring up riches to dazzle her constituents.

She trumpeted the news of this royal new investor on Bay Area sports station, 95.7 The Game.

"[The current investment group] has partnered literally with the prince of Dubai, who is next in line to lead Dubai. And they have capital," said Quan. "So, they are in negotiations with the Raiders about their stadium and to fill out the rest of their economic development plan. I expect by the end of the summer we'll have some results."

The prince in question is one Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum. He is the heir to the throne of Dubai and his father is Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who Forbes magazine estimates has a net worth of $4 billion according to a Mercury News report.

The project already had a couple of big time investors who were said to be interested. One of those investors is Rashid Al Malik who recently served as deputy CEO of multibillion dollar aerospace firm Haya Holdings which was founded by the uncle of Dubai's ruling sheik. The crown prince, according to Quan, has teamed up with Haya and if that's true it adds more weight to the group's interest.

The other investor is Colony Capital LLC, which is also run out of the Middle East (Qatar). They own the Fairmont and Claremont hotel chains. They are the third largest real estate developer in the world and manages investments upwards of $32 billion.

Those previous two investors were said to be enough to make the project a viable one and last year a proposal for a $3.1 million environmental study and plans were approved. Add the prince of Dubai, and Mayor Quan thinks she has enough big time backers to push this thing through.

The Coliseum City project seems like an ambitious one because it would include two new stadiums with a possibility for a new arena as well. These new facilities would be surrounded by a hotel and convention centers as well as shops, restaurants and condominiums, therefore completely transforming the area where the coliseum currently sits and extending across interstate 880 to the waterfront -- some 500 plus acres of new developments.

The only real stumbling block has been finding the funds to get it going. Once completed, the commerce it generates should make it worth the investment. It would also completely renovate an otherwise dilapidated and unused section of Oakland right by the airport as the first time visitors see when they come to Oakland.

The A's are currently offering the biggest stumbling block. The hope was they would opt into the Coliseum City project as of this month, but now A's co-owner Lew Wolff is talking about signing a new 10-year lease at the coliseum. This despite the mounting problems at the facility including the most recent sewage flooding which occurred during the preseason.

Acquiring investors in the project are the only way it will get off the ground. The city of Oakland is unwilling/unable to fund it. Even with assistance from the Raiders and the NFL to put money into a new stadium, there is still ground to make up which is said to be in the range of $500 million.

As part of the overall project with major investors on board with the likelihood of capitalizing on that investment it makes more sense. In this case, just introduce a Prince to the story and suddenly this fairy tale could become a reality.

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