Warriors arena in SF clears legal challenge, may actually get built someday

The seemingly never-ending battle over the Golden State Warriors‘ proposed new arena in San Francisco got at least one resolution yesterday, as San Francisco Superior Court Judge Garrett Wong ruled that the environmental impact statement that the San Francisco city council approved last winter was in fact conducted properly:

In a statement, team President Rick Welts said the ruling “brings us a huge step closer to building a new state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue, which will add needed vitality to the Mission Bay neighborhood and serve the entire Bay Area extremely well.”

“We look forward to breaking ground soon,” he said…

Osha Meserve, a land-use attorney representing the [Mission Bay Alliance], said she is “disappointed on behalf of our co-plaintiffs and the people of San Francisco.” She said that the judge was under “extreme time pressure to make a ruling.”

This whole business of challenging environmental impact statements in court has become pretty de rigueur these days, especially in California, since it’s just about the only legal hook that opponents have for challenging land use decisions: You can’t overrule the city council on the grounds that a project is dumb or against the will of the people, but you can if you can find that the traffic analysis didn’t take something into account. It doesn’t often work, and in this case it didn’t, but it’s worth a shot.

This still doesn’t completely clear the path for the construction of the new Warriors’ arena — which, as a reminder, will be built entirely with private money and even pay property taxes, because that’s just how much moolah is available from San Francisco big spenders — as opponents could still choose to appeal yesterday’s ruling, and there’s still a separate lawsuit charging that the UC-San Francisco chancellor didn’t have the authority to agree to set up a $10 million traffic mitigation fund to ease problems during Warriors games. At this point, it’s extremely likely that the arena will get built eventually and the Warriors will move across the bay, but I wouldn’t be totally shocked if it didn’t happen by the September 2019 target date, because lawyers.

11 comments on “Warriors arena in SF clears legal challenge, may actually get built someday

  1. Could it go the route of Seattle where all the hard stuff is worked out, but the arena doesn’t use biodegradable gender-fluid materials so it stalls for 5 years?

  2. “You can’t overrule the city council on the grounds that a project is dumb or against the will of the people”

    The best way to make sure a piece of land isn’t developed because it is “dumb” is for a group like the Mission Bay Alliance to buy it themselves. Yes it’s expensive, but so is a court battle.

    • Salesforce used to own the land and had intended to build a corporate campus there. When they decided against it, they started shopping it around. Various biotech companies and UCSF had the opportunity to buy the land and neglected to do so, after which the Warriors bought the land with private money in a private transaction.

  3. Not that I give a hoot whether the Warriors ever get their arena, but the Environmental Impact business is a racket – pretty much literally. Usually, the horrifying environmental impacts of actually building something are declared “fixed” when the right amount of moola ends up in the right palms. Those palms tend to be those of the very, very environmentally concerned, who would be labeled “extortionists” in other settings. See for example the $10 million “traffic mitigation fund” which is almost certainly a payoff for somebody. At some point, the fund will be embiggened enough to make the lawsuits go away.

  4. Are you taking wagers? I think this will get done by Sept 2019. Plus, it’s privately financed and owned. Plus, SF really needs a venue like this.

    I saw an article in the Bee the other day that said Golden 1 Center will be used 200 nights a year. I think that’s a joke. However, I can see a high end arena in SF seeing 250. But this is why they want it to be privately owned. If they think it’ll make money, it’s private; otherwise, the public gets a chance to bend over.

    • 200 nights or 200 events… because 200 events is what Hansen proposed for Seattle. I think FoS even had a write-up about these mythical break-even points arenas target.

    • Many in SF may want a venue like this, and many don’t want it. One thing is certain, though, and that is that SF really doesn’t “need” a venue like this.

      • On the contrary TedMark, SF is the only city out of the top 50 in population that does not have an event center with a seating capacity > 15k. So I’d say, yes SF really does “need” a venue like this.

  5. Of the legal hurdles pertaining to the Chase Center, the EIF challenge was the most compelling. The other two will likely by dismissed before any trial. In fact, the law firm representing the Mission Bay Alliance has quit and their public relations guy, Sam Singer, has also left the fold.