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Coliseum City vote tonight could be critical to keeping Raiders in Oakland

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Oakland's proposed Coliseum City development project would renovate the entire area surrounding the current Coliseum and Oracle Arena along Hegenberger and across the 880 freeway adding hotels, convention center, and a shopping and entertainment district.

There is a big vote happening tonight which is crucial in deciding whether the proposed Coliseum City development project happens or not. It will be happening at 5pm this evening at city hall so if you are interested in seeing it firsthand, and showing your support, that would be the place to be.

There is already a large Raiders fan contingency set to converge on City Hall to witness the proceedings and show their support. That charge has been led by Raiders Super Fan "Dr Death" who will again speak in front of the city council in an attempt to convince them how good this project would be for the city, the Raiders, and for them. He is urging fans to accompany him this evening.

"Today is a very important day in Oakland we can potentially be part of history," Ray "Dr Death" Perez told me in a statement. "Oakland fans are strongly recommended to come out to Oakland city hall tonight at 5:30. Today is do or die for coliseum city and the city of Oakland. We need to come out and show support for our teams this is it we can help change the landscape of Oakland for ever if Coliseum City is passed."

The vote tonight will be whether to extend the planning period another 12 months. That time is needed to get the deal done because there have been two very big investors to step forward recently which make the proposal, which previously seemed very ambitious, actually look like a very real possibility.

Those first major investor to come on board was Colony Capital, which has investments currently totaling $32 billion, making them the third largest privately held real estate firm in the world. They own Miramax Films and the Fairmont hotel chain.

The latest major development was the interest of HayaH Holding which is one of the largest investment companies in the world, responsible for much of the development of the city of Dubai.

City Councilwoman Libby Schaaf said last week "I do not think this city can afford to subsidize" the building of stadiums, but she along with the rest of the council seem very enthusiastic that partnering with Colony Capital and HayaH Holding could make the project a reality. They would come together under the banner of the Bay Investment Group (BIG).

Mayor Jean Quan has been a major proponent to the building of Coliseum City as the best way to keep Oakland's sports teams in town as well as bring new money to the city. The Raiders are looking more and more like they could be the key to the whole thing happening.

"Keeping the Raiders in Oakland is one of those great opportunities where everyone really wants the same bottom line: they want the team to stay, and they want everyone to make money and succeed," said Mayor Quan's communications director Sean Maher. "That means the investors, the team, the City, the County, the workers who would get jobs out of Coliseum City, and the businesses that would be supported and created by this vision: everyone benefits by getting this project off the ground, and everyone benefits by keeping this team in Oakland.

"What we're specifically asking the City Council to do is (1) approve bringing these world-class investors to the negotiating table, and (2) give them and our developers the time they need to pull all the necessary agreements together to make this project happen."

If approved, the first checkpoint for the BIG would be due in January of 2014. That would be a public infrastructure and debt replacement strategy. Then in March a market analysis report in and a public benefit analysis.

The other key to this would be the commitment from the Raiders, Warriors and A's. For that, BIG would be asking for letters of interest which would be due by April. Whichever teams are interested in staying will have a part in the project. That's where it could get tricky.

The catch-22 here is they need to the extension to make the project happen and while they are planning, the teams are open to find another home they like better. The Raiders have had eyes on Los Angeles as well as recently the former Naval Weapons Station in Concord. The A's have been fighting to be able to move to San Jose and the Warriors have been discussing a jump across the bay to a proposed new arena in San Francisco.

The thing is, though, that by the time April rolls around, Coliseum City could begin looking like more of a sure thing as well as a more attractive option than some of the alternatives. But if they don't go through with the plan, they could lose their teams anyway. This could prove to be the best hope for Oakland to keep their teams.