Warriors put off SF arena plans until they’re damn well good and ready, okay?

Are the owners of the Golden State Warriors trying to back away from their San Francisco arena plans or what? Last summer, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that it would be almost impossible for an arena to get approved in time to be completed by 2017, and Warriors execs insisted there was still a chance. Ten days ago, Warriors owner Joe Lacob admitted that a 2017 date was “going to be a challenge.” Then yesterday, we got this:

The Golden State Warriors are putting their goal of opening a waterfront arena in San Francisco by 2017 on hold for a year – and maybe longer.

“It’s about getting it right, not about getting it done fast,” said Warriors President Rick Welts.

That’s almost the exact same wording that Lacob used last month (“It’s not just about getting it done. It’s about getting it done right.”), which, I’ve gotta say, is starting to sound like an attempt at spin. Arena opponents are expected to turn in petitions by today to hold a public vote in June that would require any arena plan to be approved by a public vote — which given the history of public votes in San Francisco, isn’t too likely to win approval. (An arena wouldn’t likely be approved, I mean, not that a vote to hold a vote wouldn’t win. In short: San Franciscans like voting down development projects.)

This could just be an attempt by the Warriors owners to regroup and figure out a new strategy, but we’ve seen plenty of other sports venue projects wither away like this. At the very least, this seems to mark a shift in the Warriors arena from “troubled” to “on hold”; and if you’ve ever been on hold, you know that there’s no way of telling how that will end.

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11 comments on “Warriors put off SF arena plans until they’re damn well good and ready, okay?

  1. I predict that the Warriors still wind up in SF but in a different location. The problem with the current location is that it’s on the waterfront. The wording with the possible vote is basically asking whether or not waterfront projects can exceed certain height limits. Given that you need at least 17,000 to 18,000 seats and since you can’t excavate on the waterfront without winding up really wet, you have to exceed certain height standards. The Warriors have done a good job of meeting some of the demands of the anti arena people but the height restriction thing might be the nail in the coffin unless some hands are greased.

    OTOH, Art Agnos said he wouldn’t put up a fight if they put the arena by the Caltrain depot near AT&T Park. I know that the East bay crowd is hoping that they stay in Oakland but the SF name adds value to the franchise plus you get a better naming rights deal on the arena. Regardless of whether you’re on the waterfront or Caltrain, you’re still in SF.

  2. I wonder if this has anything to do with the change of plans. The rendering in this article below shows an arena as part of the Candlestick Park redevelopment. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Candlestick-Park-won-t-be-snuffed-until-2015-5163953.php

  3. @Candlestick

    Good find. If you look closely at the graphics, there is a circular building that looks like an arena in the middle of that complex. That may wind up being the new location. I’ve heard it mentioned although the lack of public transportation options make it a bit of a headache for the fans. Maybe they could add a line of the muni train or something.

  4. I have to disagree with Neil deMause in his statement that Warriors arena plan would not win a public vote. Thats not what the polls show. A September 2012 poll by the polling firm of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates showed that 68 percent of San Francisco residents supported the Warriors arena at Piers 30-32, with 18 percent opposed and 14 percent undecided. A January 2013 poll by David Binder Research showed that 60 percent of San Francisco residents supported the arena proposal with 28 percent opposed and 12 percent undecided. A March 2013 poll by Survey USA for KPIX-TV showed that 59 percent of San Francisco residents supported the arena project with 25 percent opposed and 16 percent undecided. And the most recent poll of city residents taken in September 2013 by David Binder Research showed that 62 percent of city residents supported the arena project with 29 percent opposed and 9 percent undecided. The Warriors should drop the idea of a hotel and condos and just go with the arena. As the poling shows it would win big time because many San Francisco residents are tired of having to drive out of the City to see a concert.

  5. Zip code 94124 deserves consideration as a site for the Warriors’ new arena. San Francisco’s southeast corner provides numerous parking spots, a rich history of sports events, and is closer to S.F. International Airport than the city’s waterfront. Additionally, a basketball/hockey edifice will attract smaller crowds than Candlestick Park often garnered. As such, this community would see a huge decline in traffic congestion!!

  6. @EFS

    Wow. I didn’t realize that public opinion was in favor of the arena. If they can get it done at the waterfront then I’m all for it. While Candlestick would be a nice compromise, I’m all in on the waterfront idea so if it can happen, that would work the best.

    OTOH, I think they want the hotels and residential units so that the project can turn a profit. An arena by itself isn’t profitable. That’s why so many of these owners try to screw the taxpayers. The Warriors are basically saying that we’ll fund the entire thing ourselves but we want land space to develop in return to make it financially justifiable.

  7. People like the arena, but not the arena *project*, which includes the hotels and such:


  8. I love the fact that the Warriors are looking to move to SF. But that waterfront arena? As good as it looks just seems it would put an undue strain on traffic in and out of games. Why won’t the Warriors work with the Giants and grab the pier next to AT&T park? The parking lots are there (except for the one that’d be demolished) and to/from game traffic wouldn’t be any worse than during the baseball season. Finally, get rid of Golden State. If we move lets be the San Francisco Warriors.

  9. @doubledubfan

    I’d be surprised if they don’t change it to San Francisco. They won’t announce it right away, assuming the arena happens, out of respect for the Oakland diehards but they’ll announce it most likely in the season prior to the opening of the arena.

  10. @Neil

    Thanks for the link. Any idea why the EIR hasn’t started even though the Warriors announced plans for the arena back in May of 2012? Seattle and Sacramento began the EIR process immediately after announcing their plans. You would think the W’s would at least start the EIR process so that if they do get a favorable vote, they’d be ready to start cleaning up the piers instead of waiting over a year for the EIR to be completed.

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