Warriors nix waterfront arena, buy Salesforce Mission Bay site instead 

The Warriors have purchased land in Mission Bay for a planned San Francisco basketball arena.

The team had generated controversy for its proposed waterfront arena along The Embarcadero, just south of the Bay Bridge.

Bob Linscheid, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, said the new deal was a big win for The City.

“This shows that the Warriors are deeply committed to San Francisco,” Linscheid told The San Francisco Examiner.

Linscheid said he congratulated Rick Welts, the team’s president and CEO, in a short telephone conversation Monday afternoon.

“We received a heads up from Rick Welts before it became public today,” he said.

The new site, sold by Salesforce.com to the Warriors, sits adjacent to the UC San Francisco Mission Bay campus. The sale price is unknown.

Valued at $180 million, according to the City Assessor’s Office, the parcel will have many advantages over the fraught waterfront location, from the cost of construction to myriad political hurdles on the horizon.

Robust public transportation already runs directly from downtown BART stations to the area, there is more parking than along The Embarcadero, no Port commission owns the site and no proposition on the ballot would impact the deal.

The Warriors also now own the land, whereas they would have leased the site at Piers 30-32, and land-use approvals have already been given. What’s more, the Central Subway, set for completion in 2018, a year after the arena is scheduled to open, will run directly from the Powell BART station to the arena’s front door.

click to enlarge Warriors arena
  • mike koozmin/the S.F. Examiner
  • The Warriors have purchased land for their future Mission Bay arena from Salesforce.com; the team would have had to lease Port land at Piers 30-32 under their previous arena plan.

UCSF, whose sprawling campus dominates the neighborhood, was given a $100 million donation recently by Salesforce co-founder Marc Benioff. UCSF also recently purchased land from Salesforce, which abandoned plans for a Mission Bay campus. Instead, Salesforce announced it will occupy half of the Transbay Tower on Mission Street when the building is completed in 2017.

UCSF spokeswoman Kristen Bole said the school’s Salesforce land purchase is still being reviewed by The City, but UCSF expects it to be confirmed in late summer. Bole said the university had no comment on the Warriors’ land deal, but doesn’t expect it to impact its purchase.

Opponents of the waterfront arena took the news as vindication of their fight against huge waterfront development projects.

”The Warriors have shifted to a smarter alternative because the people, not just the politicians, became involved in the process,” said former Mayor Art Agnos, an opponent of the proposed arena location at Piers 30-32. Agnos is a supporter of Proposition B, a June ballot measure that would require voter approval for waterfront developments that seeks to exceed existing building height limits.

Neither the Warriors nor Salesforce returned calls Monday for comments on the land deal.

click to enlarge Warriors
  • courtesy photo
  • The Warriors had been trying to build a waterfront arena just south of the Bay Bridge, but it was revealed Monday that they have instead purchased land in Mission Bay for the development.

Mayor Ed Lee, who had backed the waterfront arena plan, issued a statement late Monday, saying, “This new site on privately-owned land in Mission Bay will provide a spectacular location and a more certain path to bring a transit-rich, state-of-the-art sports and entertainment arena to San Francisco.”

About The Author

Jonah Owen Lamb

Jonah Owen Lamb

Born and raised on a houseboat in Sausalito, Lamb has written for newspapers in New York City, Utah and the San Joaquin Valley. He was most recently an editor at the San Luis Obispo Tribune for nearly three years. He has written for The S.F. Examiner since 2013 and covers criminal justice and planning.
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