Warriors Arena proposal rouses supporters and opponents

Project opponents depict Bay views with and without the proposed Warriors Arena.
San Francisco Waterfront Alliance

UPDATED Rival teams have formed in the last week to support and oppose the proposed Warriors Arena at Piers 30-32 as the California Legislature considers a new bill to approve the project, a new design is about to be released, and a trio of San Francisco agencies prepares to hold informational hearings.

Fresh off the collapse of two of the city's biggest development deals, Mayor Ed Lee and his allies are pushing hard to lock in what he hopes will be his “legacy project.” A new group of local business leaders calling itself Warriors on the Waterfront held a rally on the steps of City Hall today, emphasizing the project's job creation, community partnerships, and revitalization of a dilapidated stretch of waterfront.

That launch event followed last week's creation of the San Francisco Waterfront Alliance, made up mostly of area residents and environmental organizations that oppose the project, including the Sierra Club and Save the Bay. The group today released a press release and artist's rendering of how the 13-story arena and two condo towers may block views of the bay.

Last week, SFWA put out a press release criticizing Assembly Bill 1273 by Assembly member Phil Ting, claiming it would allow the project to avoid scrutiny by the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, which oversees and issues permits for waterfront projects. “One of the primary reasons we have regulatory agencies like the BCDC is so that local jurisdictions don’t run roughshod over the Bay and the waterfront,” group President Gayle Cahill said in the release. “The San Francisco Waterfront Alliance strongly believes that BCDC should retain its jurisdiction in this project to ensure independent oversight for the Bay and for all of us.”

Yet Ting and supporters of the project say the legislation doesn't change BCDC's oversight of the project, pointing to language that explicitly acknowledges the agency's authority. While the legislation would remove the need for the three-member State Lands Commission to approve the project, proponents said approval by the full Legislature is a higher bar that ensures more public scrutiny and accountability.

“It does not waive BCDC. It goes through the same BCDC process,” Ting told us. “By going through the Legislature, you do have more hearings and public process. The idea was to make this more thoroughly vetted.”

The Port's Brad Benson told us that State Lands staff is also still actively scrutinizing the project. “We've been working closely with State Land and BCDC staff to incorporate their concerns,” Benson said. For example, the arena configuration has already been moved closer to shore than originally proposed because of BCDC concerns about maritime access to a deep-water berth at the site.

In addition to approval by the Legislature and BCDC, the project must also be approved by the Port Commission and Board of Supervisors. The latest design for the project is scheduled to be released on May 6 and will be discussed by the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee that day, said Gloria Chan of the Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development. The Planning Commission will then hold an informational hearing on the new design May 9, following by a May 14 hearing before the Port Commission. 

The project is proposed to include a 17,500-seat arena that would host more than 200 Warriors games, concerts, and other events per year, starting in 2017, on 13 acres of rebuilt piers. The adjacent, 2.3-acre Seawall Lot 330 would include up to 130 new condos, a hotel of up to 250 rooms, and 34,000 square feet of restaurants and retail space.

The whole project would include just 830-930 parking spaces, making its still-unfolding transportation plan key to the project's approval. Opponents of the project also criticize the project's height and its financing package and say this intensive development isn't consistent with city plans or state laws that protect waterfront lands for maritime and public uses.

"We told the mayor before it was even announced that it is not a legal use of the pier," Save the Bay Executive Director David Lewis told the Guardian. "There's no reason that an arena has to be out on the water on a crumbling pier."

Yet proponents tout the project's economic benefits to the city and the need for an arena that size to host concerts and conventions, beyond the prestige of luring the Warriors away from Oakland and back to its original home city. “It will be privately financed and turn a crumbling pier and unsafe parking lot into a state-of-the-art venue that generates new revenue for the region and provides a spectacular new facility for the Bay Area’s NBA team.”Jim Wunderman, CEO of the Bay Area Council and an honorary co-chair of Warriors on the Waterfront, said in the press release.

UPDATE: Rudy Nothenberg, who served five SF mayors financing big civic projects and helped found SF Waterfront Alliance, disputes several assertions made by project proponents. "The first version of [AB 1273] unquestionably moved BCDC out of the way," he said, claiming that bill language was altered after input from BCDC and the consultant to the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. BCDC has not yet returned a call from the Guardian on the issue. Nothenberg also says AB 1273 turns the deliberate fact-finding process required for the State Lands Commission to make its public trust determination into a political process that is a less thorough vetting of the project.

He also took issue with the statements by Wunderman and others that this is a privately funded project, noting that taxpayers will be paying $120 million to rebuild these piers and will give up future property taxes on the site, which will be diverted by a special tax district to help repay the bonds. Nothenberg told us, "Their continued assertion that there is no public money involved in blatantly untrue."



Other than the "usual suspect" NIMBY's who oppose everything, this is a no-brainer. Our waterfront may not yet be world-class but we are slowly getting there.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

Its really easy for everyone else in SF to dismiss the "NIMBYs" when none of them will ever face anything remotely like this in THEIR neighborhoods.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

We need more parking lots over the water in San Francisco - particularly those which are decrepit.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 3:37 pm

the bus to SF over BART, and the tennis club for downtown types over new housing.

They are wrong so much, you can count on it.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

Yes, I see your point: Hordes of pasty-faced suburban conventioneers invading SoMa is so much better than the thousands of people who used to live there. They're so much cleaner, wealthier, and, you know, whiter. Hopefully Mayor Lee gets his way and we can clear out the rest of the SRO dwellers from the Tenderloin and replace them with even more pasty-faced tech workers, some token "art," and a bunch of sanitized chain stores and restaurants to serve their needs. It'll be like Disneyland, except without the colorful characters and long lines. It's so exciting that I just can't wait!

Posted by steven on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 11:36 am

They will not be satisfied until we are compelled to bear, in solemn procession, gold bricks on red velvet pillows in tribute to our economic overlords.

What kind of pseudo religious psychosis must it take to embrace libertarian economic theory that compels individuals to make nothing but sacrifices so that others might benefit?

Posted by marcos on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 11:52 am

a tech-working homeowner?

It stuns me how you can maintain such disconnective cognitice dissonance.

Oh, and all those SOMA SRO residents? You'd run a mile if your "pasty-faced" self were physically confronted with one.

You're fooling nobody.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

But not a "journalist". Surely you can do better than that.

Although, that said, fighting against the Moscone Center (were you even at SFBG back then?) seems like a lost battle too far.

Pasty-faced? Is that some anti-white racism dressed up as an appeal to "diversity"? Well, it wouldn't be very "diverse" if there weren't any white people in SOMA, huh?

You may prefer neighborhoods that are full of pushers, addicts, tramps, petty criminals, hookers and ne'er-do-well's, but some of us actually prefer the city's denizens to be less criminal and more self-supporting and ambitious.

How long do you have to be on the wrong side of history before you accept that your anti-growth worldview is both intellectually bankrupt and a surefire election loser?

Posted by anonymous on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

The ideology is perpetual economic growth is the ideology of the cancer cell and is having the same effects on the complete environment of the biosphere, people included.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

If you acknowledge that, and accept that resistance is futile, then you will be well on the way to mental and emotional adequacy.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

>"Hordes of pasty-faced suburban conventioneers invading SoMa is so much better than the thousands of people who used to live there. "

How is that not racist? There are no people of color among the doctors, dentists and business professionals that use Moscone?

How is that not stupid? The tax revenue from AirBNB is highly significant but all of the convention revenue is meaningless?

How can you keep from laughing when Steven says that he is a 'journalist'? It ain't easy.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

but never against blacks and hispanics.

Blacks and hispanics are the "chosen people" even though the average SF white progressive is a white middle-aged guy who rarely if ever associates with either blacks or hispanics, and is probably scared of both.

It's a form of self-hate.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

Project much?

Posted by marcos on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

Cannot say that about you, Greg, Steven etc.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

What about those in ChinaTwon? Yellow-faced?

Mission residents are a little trickier? Refried-beans faced?

Please, Steven, no more racial epithets or stereotypical innuendo.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 3:55 pm

I get your point and thank you for that. It tells it like it is, which the toilet-floater trolls on here (the majority of the people here) can't bear to hear because it exposes their not-so-covert smug elitism, classism, prejudices and hatred back at them in a very specific way.

"pasty-faced tech workers"

Yes, exactly. And most articles I've read about this tech shit says that most of the tech-elite are white, and some Asian. That's also what I see get off of those increasing in number huge 2-story tall tech shuttles. Usually 5 people get off the thing. Speaking of which, the other day there were 3 of them in a row blocking the intersection and Muni couldn't even get to their own bus stop because the tech shuttles were there and blocking the whole works up.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 19, 2013 @ 4:37 am

...is so boringly predictable. This picture is a perfect example.

Find the spot of maximum impact on the view and then crop the picture closely to give the impression that the view will be destroyed.

Although this one added something new...they took the ugly existing arena, big Oracle sign and all, and plopped that in the picture for some added deception. Like taking Candlestick and photoshopping it next to McCovey Cove.

For more information see: Techniques in Photo Imagery Deception, Telegraph Hill Dwellers Press, 2003.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

How can SFBG claim any credibility when they resort to such cheap deceptive tactics?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

Well in this one instance they did make it clear that it was one of the opponents pictures, although I'm sure that they were only too happy to use it.

That picture is so poorly done. They had to crop it so closely that they could only show about half of the Oracle Arena.

One thing about Photoshop...you don't need words to lie anymore.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

in what passes for an SFBG "newsroom" these days. Steven's always been clear the SFBG practices advocacy and not journalism though.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 5:53 pm

And that the SFBG isn't a NEWSpaper.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

After he published "America's Cup is Killing People!" people starting chastising him, saying that they hope the deceased's family doesn't see his post.

And he responded by saying that they would probably feel better to see the story overed by a journalist.

So I think that he actually does consider himself to be a journalist.

Sorta sad.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

I've been a newspaper journalist for 21 years, for dailies and weeklies, and I have a shelf full of awards for my work from mainstream journalism associations, so it's simply untrue that I consider myself an advocate rather than a journalist or that I have made that claim here or elsewhere. That said, I don't believe in the false standard of objectivity, but  do strive for fairness, balance, and other tenets of the SPJ Code of Ethics, and I defy you to identify anything in this post that indicates otherwise.

As for the photo, as another commenter noted, I was clear that it came from opponents and I qualified what it showed. Yes, they chose just the right angle to depict maximum bay blockage, just as supporters have used aerial perspectives on the new arena that minimize how views will be blocked, which run without any qualification in supposedly "objective" newspapers like the Chronicle.

Posted by steven on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 11:20 am

Which I thought was obvious enough during the Mirkarimi trial, when his go-to analyst was Shepard Kopp and he never bothered his readers with any of the nonsense from the other side.

I actually did think that this article was remarkably balanced for a Steven article. But he made up this part in his comment:

"supporters have used aerial perspectives on the new arena that minimize how views will be blocked, which run without any qualification in supposedly "objective" newspapers like the Chronicle."

You can search SF Gate and see for yourself that Steven made that part up. There are a few times when they published the architect's renderings but they are always identified as such.

Another thing about the picture that Steven ran -- the opponents obviously have access to photoshop and could have removed the big Oracle sign in about 5 minutes, because it is totally inaccurate. It isn't just misleading, it is false.

But it has all that Larry Ellison buzz...let's run with it.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

We should put "the beach" back in South Beach and demolish the lot of the even numbered piers south of the bridge and replace them with a nice, warm sandy bayfront beach.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 5:00 pm

with the regulatory thicket surrounding ANY construction on the Bay? And why would that beach be warm? Do you think we live in Hawaii? The average temperature of the Bay is less than 70 degrees. Hardly "warm."

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

Take a look at one of those really old maps of San Francisco from the 1850s. Most of those nimbys live in condos that were built where the Bay is supposed to be.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

Now you're just being difficult and cranky. That part of the city is often the warmest that it gets and would be a wonderful place for a public beach on the bay.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 9:25 pm

in 70 degree water and "warm" is relative. At that water temp it would need to be absolutely still and 80+ degrees to enjoy it and we both know that rarely happens in San Francisco. Not to mention 70 degree is the warmest the Bay gets and that's just 2 months out of the year.

Besides, there is going to be no sandy beach there. You know as well as I the restrictions on shoreline development + cost rule it out. There are sandy beaches at Baker or Stinson Beach already. Stinson is nice too.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 9:52 pm

If they can cut hefty development giveaway deals for stadiums, boat races and cruise terminals, they can figure out how to put a damn beach in South Beach.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 10:13 pm

Don't you think you're being overly entitled and bourgeois?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 10:32 pm

We need more park and open space. Our ocean beaches are often cold, foggy and windy. That part of the waterfront is often the warmest waterfront in the City. There are growing numbers of residents and offices there. There should also be open to the public amenities put in place as well, amenities that conform to the Port and BCDC constraints on the use of waterfront land.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 6:57 am

by whining about it on a blog.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 12:35 pm
Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 1:00 pm

Not on the east side, that's why they call it "South Beach" and that is a major selling point of condos in sunny SOMA. I guess it is sunny for everyone but residents who want to soak in the priceless views.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

But it's still no beachfront culture.

Santa Cruz is the closest we have to that, and even there it's chilly a lot of the time.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

I go to that part of the city frequently. I love that it's a place where this local resident can enjoy the view without any fanfare. Sure, the structures are funky. If the piers and parking lot are useful, then repair them and use them. Or remove them altogether. So much of the bay has been filled in and built over destructively. Let's un-build it a little bit. Do we really need to build a giant structure on a place to make it worth visiting? Gimme a break. Keep the mega-developer-sports-cronies away from our view.

Posted by Rocket on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 9:03 pm

gaze at rotting piers.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 6:00 am

“It will be privately financed and turn a crumbling pier and unsafe parking lot into a state-of-the-art venue that generates new revenue for the region and provides a spectacular new facility for the Bay Area’s NBA team.”

Yeah, we've heard this same kind of "generates new revenue for the region" wishful-thinking, propaganda bull shit before. That yachting race for the elite was sold to the public with the same manure. Don't people ever tire of falling for this shit? And do we really need more retail space when there are empty store fronts all over the city? Suckers.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2013 @ 11:39 pm

Check how much beer and hot dogs cost at the baseball park.

And how many people buy them.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 6:01 am

super profits generated by rip off prices that some people (surprisingly) choose to pay because of habit, hunger, lack of control, alcoholism or other reasons.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 8:50 am

It's not my job to tell others how much to spend on a hot dog.

My point was restricted to showing that the revenues are there to justify investing in infrastructure like this.

Posted by anon on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 9:15 am

It is our job to protect the bay and the environment and that means checking the boosters whenever their latest money and land grab is touted as being the best thing ever.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 9:21 am

And the voters gave Lee a thumping 60-40 election win over anti-growth Avalos by standing on a pro-development platform.

You already lost the debate in the only place that counts - the ballot box.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 3:52 pm

You've put that lie on here how many times now?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

of thing I think of: one or more self-entitled assholes banding together to fence off public space and sell tickets to it.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 5:49 am

Or thinks that a sports stadium is a better use of so-called "public" land than, say, parking cars on it?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 6:44 am

No. The enjoyment of daily life is not a factor around here, sorry.

Better to let the piers crumble.

BTW, anybody who is out for a stroll or bike ride to enjoy the waterfront in that area would actually have an improved experience if they use the public access of this project. It would be a lot more interesting than just walking past Red's Java House and staring through the chain link fence.

But we don't care.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 7:18 am

Less is often more.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 7:24 am

Yeah, I know. I used to ride my bike down to what is now called McCovey Cove before it got ruined. It just ain't the same anymore.

Especially when it is full of people enjoying themselves.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 17, 2013 @ 8:05 am

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