The “Golden State Warriors are looking for a new arena site” rumor mill continues to churn, with the latest unsourced reports being that the team is now looking at multiple backup sites now that the Piers 30-32 site has gotten more expensive and is likely to face a public vote. In addition to the parking lots near the San Francisco Giants‘ stadium, there’s this:
Another option getting initial discussion, sources say, is part of the 14 acres in Mission Bay that Salesforce bought in November 2010 for about $250 million to hold its corporate campus. The San Francisco software giant announced in February 2012 that it was shelving its plan to build there. A portion of the site, bounded by Terry Francois Boulevard and 16th, Third and South streets, across from a bayfront park, could hold an arena…
Despite its proximity to the bay, the site is not on Port of San Francisco property, and therefore it is not subject to the ballot measure that limited-growth advocates qualified for the June ballot.
The Mission Bay site isn’t without its own problems, though, starting with that $250 million that Salesforce paid for it, which they’d presumably want to be paid back — making the land even more expensive than the $180 million rehab cost that is reportedly making the pier site too spendy. (The San Francisco Chronicle’s John Coté speculates that Salesforce could cut its price if it got naming rights to the arena, but that’s not much of a solution, as then the team wouldn’t get to use naming-rights revenue to pay the rest of the arena costs.)
In any event, the problem still remains that the Warriors owners were planning on paying off the more than $1 billion cost of an arena by building condo towers on city-controlled land nearby, and none of the alternate sites would make this any easier. If it were all about finding a place to build an arena, after all, the piers are there for the taking — it’s the accompanying apartment building that is danger of running afoul of a June ballot. In the end, the Warriors don’t have a site problem, they have a money problem — and unless they figure out a way to make a San Francisco arena pay, this project is going nowhere.