Ronnie Lott apparently wants no part of the Oakland Raiders Stadium Drawings issue, today, after playing stadium developer in 2016
Ronnie Lott, the former San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders NFL Hall of Fame Player, and head of “The Ronnie Lott Group” that worked with Fortress Investments to ostensibly build a new stadium in Oakland at the Coliseum in 2016, now says to Zennie62Media that a subject related to his effort is “not my business.”
The Unfolding Story Of MEIS Architects Design Concept For An Oakland Raiders Stadium
To bring readers, and Raider Nation, up to date on this story, let’s take it from the top, and then add some updates, along the way to the Ronnie Lott communication effort and his response.
The Oakland Raiders Stadium design concept produced by New York City-based MEIS Architects consisted of two types of stadiums: one a box-like steel structure, and the other patterned after Seattle Seahawks’ CenturyLink Stadium. It also included the presentation of an idea that melds tailgating and luxury suites for a unique experience.
The webpage for the designs was uploaded for public view in this year, 2018, even though the information on the page reports that the stadium design project was done in 2016. Also, MEIS Architects made no effort to highlight the Oakland Raiders Stadium Project on its website; there was no listing for it in any
of the website menus. This blogger found the Raiders webpage in a search on “Oakland Raiders Stadium Design” and during the Zennie62 on YouTube Sunday night livestream show.
This was how MEIS Architects described the Raiders stadium in brief:
Location: Oakland, CA USA
Client: Oakland Raiders
Size: 75,000 seats
Project Type: Stadium, Sports-Anchored Districts, Interior Design and Branding, Sponsor Integration & Activation”
The MEIS Architects Raiders New Stadium Project has been the talk of Raider Nation, and issued a whole new set of questions – only some of which were answered by Dan Meis, the principal of MEIS Architects.
On Twitter, MEIS Architects Founder Dan Meis took time to publicly respond to this vlogger’s email, and with this tweet:
Nothing sinister here. Concepts were created for a confidential developer, NOT the Raiders. Client was hoping to keep Raiders in the Bay Area.
— danmeis (@Meisarch) December 17, 2018
The questions are these, to start: First, was the developer in conversation with the Oakland Raiders? Second, was this for a stadium outside Oakland but in Alameda County? Third, what became of the plan negotiations? And why post the design now, in 2018, for a 2016 project? Fourth, did Ronnie Lott see this, as Lott had his own stadium development group that eventually was given an exclusive negotiating agreement with the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda.
As I said, confidential. Labeled as “Oakland Raiders” because they were concepts for a Raiders Stadium. We put them up now because it is good work that still represents how we think and the question of the Raiders location is long settled.
— danmeis (@Meisarch) December 17, 2018
Given than the City of Oakland Raiders Lawsuit concerns, in part, breach of good faith business dealing, the fact that this happened, and the Raiders certainly appear to have been involved in it, is relevant.
Note that in 2016, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley had said to me he saw Oakland Raiders Stadium drawings back at Raiders Headquarters, and that the design was for a facility that looked like the Seattle Seahawks NFL Stadium. Thus, it would seem the developers were in touch with the Raiders, if not directed by them.
I wrote before, and will repeat that from personal experience, this has the Oakland Raiders approach written all over it. In 1996, Al LoCasale, the Oakland Raiders Executive Assistant, approached this blogger as I was Economic Advisor to Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris. LoCasale asked me to be the front-person for the Raiders effort to reestablish the 49ers / Raiders Pre-Season Game and because “We don’t want it to look like it came from us.”
Given this story, it would seem that strategy was at play by the Raiders in 2016.
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority Boss McKibben Says He Saw One Rendering At Raiders Headquarters
Reached on Tuesday, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Executive Director Scott McKibben was kind enough on this holiday season to address my questions about the MEIS Architects design concept. Mr. McKibben’s response to me was that he had seen the first drawing: “all we saw was the first set of renderings. Can’t recall the exact date. Frankly, I can’t recall the developer. As you know, we’ve had several over the years dabble around. The drawings I saw were ones (Oakland Raiders Owner Mark) Davis and (Oakland Raiders President Marc) Badain showed me in their conference room. (Oakland Assistant City Administrator) Claudia Cappio was with me on one of the visits and saw them also. That’s the only set of renderings I ever saw.”
However, Mr. McKibben was quick to add this: “I have no idea who Dan Meis is. I have never met him nor even heard his name mentioned. As I said, the renderings Claudia and I saw were those of what a stadium would look like built here on Coliseum property. I never saw anything for either LA or Vegas.”
That means that while Dan Meis words might be to steer the interested away from a focus on the Raiders, the fact is, the Raiders were at the center of all of this.
McKibben’s statement also brings up the central question of why the Raiders would hide an exciting plan to build a new stadium in Oakland? Considering Mark Davis’ focus on Las Vegas that started in 2014, was it insurance in case the Las Vegas deal failed? Moreover, does this also explain the “disappearing act” that Oakland Raiders Stadium Point Person Larry McNeil did in that he was hired by the Raiders in 2016, worked with Cappio, and then ducked out of site shortly after the Las Vegas Stadium effort was greenlit by the Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Nevada Legislature on October 16th of 2016?
Many roads lead to Ronnie Lott, but he’s not talking, even though he has a clear role in this, as you can see.
Ronnie Lott’s Disappearing Act Since The 2016 Stadium Effort
Since his and Fortress Investments plan to build a new Oakland Raiders Stadium at the Oakland Coliseum was rejected by Oakland Raiders Owner Mark Davis and the NFL, along with Oakland and Alameda County as a group, Lott has said almost nothing about Oakland and the Raiders. Lott has expressed support for the Las Vegas Relocation, and in the process, upset Oakland Raiders Nation. Still, this blogger had to contact him about the MEIS Architects design. This is what I asked the NFL Hall of Famer (and I must remind him that Cal beat USC this year):
A firm called MEIS Architects JUST THIS YEAR posted a new Raiders Stadium design they were hired to make in 2016. Dan Meis says it was “confidential”.
Were you made aware of these design concepts for an Oakland Raiders Stadium by MEIS Architects in 2016? Do you know who the developer was?
Here’s the blog post: https://oaklandnewsnow.com/index.php/2018/12/17/oakland-raiders-new-coliseum-nfl-stadium-concept-you-never-saw/
Thanks and Merry Christmas!
Ronnie Lott’s response:
“Please do not contact me on a subject that is not my business.”
Mr. Lott didn’t even bother to say “Merry Christmas.” To which I responded:
Can Ronnie Lott Escape The City of Oakland’s Lawsuit Against the NFL and the Raiders?
The City of Oakland’s lawsuit is clear. As Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker said to the press when the legal defense of Oakland’s perceived damage by the Raiders was announced “The defendants brazenly violated federal antitrust law and the league’s own policies when they boycotted Oakland as a host city. The Raiders’ illegal move lines the pockets of NFL owners and sticks Oakland, its residents, taxpayers and dedicated fans with the bill. The purpose of this lawsuit is to hold the defendants accountable and help to compensate Oakland for the damages the defendants’ unlawful actions have caused and will cause to the people of Oakland.”
Since Ronnie Lott gave impassioned speeches to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the Oakland City Council on his respect for the Oakland Community during his quest to obtain a Raiders stadium deal, it will be interesting to see how the legendary 49ers safety tackles a Federal court order to appear as a witness.