In 1975, I advocated that San Francisco build an indoor arena in the area where the Moscone Center is now. The arena would have accommodated the Warriors and an NHL team. A commission appointed to study the plan voted it down by a one-vote margin.
So, the Warriors stayed in Oakland. The NHL team eventually wound up in San Jose, where it has thrived as the Sharks.
Now, new Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are proposing to build a grand new arena on the Embarcadero; Lacob has taken the reins on this project, as he has with the team.
Strictly from a basketball standpoint, the Warriors are in the perfect location now, because Oracle Arena is easily reached from all locations in the Bay Area, except for the relatively low population in the North Bay.
But the Warriors are planning much more than a basketball arena. The grand structure they are proposing would also be used as a concert venue — the top acts go to the arena with the best sound — and that changes the dynamics.
An all-purpose arena makes more sense for San Francisco because Bay Area people are accustomed to coming to San Francisco for cultural events. But it makes no sense to put this structure on the Embarcadero.
Since the Embarcardero Freeway came down after the 1989 earthquake, the waterfront area has undergone a miraculous transformation under San Francisco mayors Art Agnos and Willie Brown. The area is beautiful with low buildings along the waterfront, except for the Ferry Building, which has been there since 1898. The views of the bay are unhindered, and there will be an additional attraction when the new Bay Bridge is finished with an imaginative light display at the top of the bridge at night.
If you’re on the Embarcadero in daylight hours, you see people driving, walking, skate boarding, bicycling and just enjoying the beauty that is San Francisco Bay.
It makes no sense to ruin this by putting a huge structure there, especially since there are other spots in San Francisco, including two in nearby Mission Bay, where the structure would fit nicely.
A waterfront arena makes no sense, either, because anybody who has been driving on the Embarcadero in the 5-7 p.m. time knows that traffic comes almost to a stop at that time. If you add people coming to either games or concerts at that time ... well, drop the almost.
Because it would bring money to The City, Mayor Ed Lee has been wholeheartedly behind this project on the waterfront. There have been attempts to keep regulatory agencies out of the mix, with a proposal by Assemblyman Phil Ting, who represents San Francisco.
Everybody realizes now that the Embarcadero Freeway was a blight on The City. I can only hope that this waterfront arena won’t be pushed through for future generations to regret.
Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. Email him at email@example.com.