The Golden State Warriors and city officials on Thursday night detailed an aggressive timeline to build a new arena on the San Francisco waterfront in time for the team to play the 2017-18 season here.
In May, the team and city officials announced that the Warriors want to move back across the Bay after playing in Oakland for nearly 50 years. The proposal is for the Warriors to enter into a long-term lease and privately finance a multipurpose arena at Piers 30-32 near the Bay Bridge. The project, which would include rehabilitating the crumbling piers, also would include a parking lot across The Embarcadero at Seawall Lot 330.
On Thursday night, city and team officials met with the new 16-member Pier 30-32 Citizens Advisory Committee, which comprises neighborhood residents and business owners.
“We are in the very early stages of deciding what the components are of this project,” Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts told the crowd of mainly San Francisco residents, many of them from the South Beach and Rincon Hill neighborhoods.
The architecture and the final details of what will be built along with an arena – such as retail space – are still being finalized.
The team needs three years to construct the arena and surrounding buildings, said Jennifer Matz, director of the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development. Before construction can begin, though, the project needs a series of approvals from local and state agencies.
The beginning of the formal process has begun with the Port of San Francisco this summer entering into an agreement to negotiate with the Warriors. A big milestone is expected this fall when what is called a term sheet is expected to go to the Board of Supervisors. The document would be the first to paint in broad strokes exactly what the project would entail.
From there, there needs to be a series of environmental studies and reviews. The project is bound by state, local and even NBA guidelines. Though exact designs for the project are pending, it is clear that the roughly 120-foot tall arena would need special approval from The City since current zoning for the piers limits buildings to just 40 feet. The NBA would mandate other portions of the project, including 650 parking spots that must be on-site, Welts said.
Future meetings are planned for the advisory committee, including ones to tackle thorny issues such as transportation and potential benefits to the surrounding neighborhood.
The project is not without critics, some of whom spoke out at the Thursday meeting.
Issues include the number of events that would be held in the arena, which will border residential neighborhoods.
Welts told the crowd that an area of the size they are looking to build – 17,000 to 19,000 seats – would need to hold 120-200 events a year in order to be profitable.
Welts told The San Francisco Examiner that the team “knows what is expected” in order to get the project built, especially with the community outreach and engagement. He said the team knows there will be hundreds of issues that will need to be addressed.
“We are up to it,” Welts said.
Topics of next advisory committee meetings, being held at Pier 1 on The Embarcadero: