The official announcement is in for the Golden State Warriors‘ arena plan for San Francisco, and we have some more details — a few, anyway — on what it will cost and who it will be paid for:
- Construction will cost $500 million, including $100 million to shore up Piers 30-32 to be able to support an arena.
- The Warriors will get a long-term lease on the city property. The San Francisco Chronicle says “the model for the deal is the 1996 agreement between the city and the Giants“; in that case, the city gave the Giants waterfront property for free while the team paid for all construction costs and pays property taxes.
- The team also, according to the Chronicle, “hopes to recoup the [construction] money eventually in the form of rent credits from the port or other givebacks,” as well as from arena revenues. This implies further public subsidies, but with no other details forthcoming, it’s hard to say exactly what.
All this would put the public share of the arena cost at somewhere between reasonable (the public ended up putting up about 10% of the Giants’ stadium cost, via land subsidies) and, well, we don’t know, pending what those “givebacks” might be. As discussed yesterday, an arena operating year-round in the heart of San Francisco is one of the few locations that could conceivably generate enough profit to pay for this kind of hefty private price tag — plus, let’s not forget, the $70 million the Warriors would still owe to Oakland on their old lease — but “conceivably” is the key word here.
In any event, this is only the very, very beginning of a planning and political approval process that’s expected to take at least two years, with the arena itself not opening until 2017. Oakland city officials have already said they’ll issue a counterproposal (though they have no details yet), and the Warriors still have the San Francisco Plan B of building on land controlled by the Giants to consider. At the very least, this being San Francisco, we have years of exciting environmental impact statements and board of supervisors hearings to look forward to — somewhere in there, we should be able to find out exactly who’d be paying for what.