March 25, 2010

(Will They) Give It Up For Your Golden State San Francisco Warriors…

Mission Rock - SWL 337/Pier 48 - Proposal (click to enlarge)

Could Chris Cohan’s announced willingness to sell the Golden State Warriors at a time when the San Francisco Giants’ are scrambling for equity investors to support their proposed development of San Francisco’s Seawall Lot 337 make for a return of the San Francisco Warriors?

As plugged-in people know, the Giants' current proposal for "Mission Rock" doesn’t include an NBA sized arena and adding one would necessitate a new plan (and perhaps competition). But considering the current lack of dollars for large development deals, a whole new plan might just be more of a boon than a barrier for the Giants.

Proposed Seawall Lot 337 Development Scrambling For Investors [SocketSite]
SocketSite Weekend Special: One Proposal For San Francisco SWL 337 [SocketSite]
This time, Warriors' return to S.F. has a shot [SFGate]
The Development Of Seawall Lot 337: And Then There Were Three [SocketSite]

First Published: March 25, 2010 3:15 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

If and when this comes to pass, it will have a very positive impact on residential values in Mission Bay, read the Radiance and those along King Street, and a generally postive effect on other south of Market Street residences.

Posted by: Malcolm Kaufman at March 25, 2010 3:33 PM

An indoor arena on prime waterfront land doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Not saying that it wouldn't be great to have a basketball arena/concert venue somewhere accessible in SF. But it should at least be set well back from the water. Not sure if it would really fit in this location.

Posted by: curmudgeon at March 25, 2010 3:54 PM

totally agreed with @curmudgeon. If you're in an indoor venue, it might as well be anywhere. it would be a waste of very limited prime waterfront real estate. At least a baseball stadium is meant to be an outdoor experience, and the views and exposure to the weather and such are meant to be part of the experience. I fail to see how an indoor basketball arena remotely meets the same goals and needs. Is there going to be the basketball equivalent of the home run "splash landing" in McCovey Cove?

Posted by: hmmm at March 25, 2010 4:32 PM

I agree regarding having it right on the waterfront, but having it setback could work. There's already a nice bar/restaurant scene surrounding AT&T Park, and something similar could be a lot of fun. Particularly if the restaurant space took advantage of the waterfront setting.

As long as the arena isn't funded with my tax dollars, I think it could be great.

Posted by: Fishchum at March 25, 2010 4:57 PM

oh come on. they were proposing multi-level parking structures there. Like those are prime waterfront uses?
It's a huge site and it certainly can accommodate the relatively small indoor stadium. It makes a lot of sense that that area continue to be used for large scale public gatherings; It would also help support transit alternatives for the whole area.

Posted by: jose at March 25, 2010 5:05 PM

To be clear, if there is room toward the back of the site (and there are limited or no public tax dollars involved) I think it's great. I just wanted to be clear that this is not PacBell Park by any stretch, as Hmmm stated.

Posted by: curmudgeon at March 25, 2010 5:10 PM

This is the best idea for the site and for the needs of SF. It is not really "waterfront"...and the waterfront that;s there isn't magical. It's where circ du soleil puts up a tent. SF needs an arena. The public transportation is all around. Having concerts in San Jose and Oakland because SF doesn;t have a decent-sized arena is so limiting and money the city just throws away. In addition to the Warriors, there would be concerts, NCAA tourney games, other college games (ie. holiday classic with stanford and cal playing games, political conventions and more). DO IT!

Posted by: grrr at March 25, 2010 6:39 PM

Maybe we can get a cutting edge/modern arena with a huge window facing east so everyone can enjoy the bay views and twinkling lights on the east bay hills while taking in a Warriors game. Partial joking aside, I think if the arena is set to the west away from the waterfront and combined with the original vision this could truly be amazing. Or, since I'm dreaming, put a retractable roof on it and lure the MLS (quakes) as well.

Posted by: cr8 at March 25, 2010 6:58 PM

Oh the irony. If this happens, it will happen in true behind closed doors fashion, the way SFPD is on the take -- we will never know. Because they are THAT good. Willie Brown's biggest problem was not that he was to savvy. It was that he was to open about his savviness. People have learned from that and now stuff just happens, all out of our view, and deals are made with the dimming, dimwit faux-gressives to shut them up.

None of this would bother me much, were it not for the fact that we never know what we will get until its unveiled, fait accompli style.

Makes me wish that they could just put some tough ass old SF money on the trail, like De De Wilsey. The at least we would get an architectural marvel (like the DeYoung).

Posted by: stucco-sux at March 25, 2010 7:19 PM

Not gonna happen. Sorry. Larry Ellison wants to own a city, not help the Giants own one.

Posted by: Rincon Hill Billy at March 25, 2010 10:23 PM

Not the highest and best use to plunk down an enclosed venue in a site would benefit more open buildings with glass to take advantage of views. I do see the arena become an engine of life to retail but I prefer the Giant's current vision of Las Ramblas open pedestrian market...and less so gentrification of this area to sports bars and tee shirt shops. Warriors current building is a windowless box and I see that rubber stamp here.

The risk of not taking them is loosing another investment catalyst to kick start construction loans. The risk of partnering with the Warriors is significantly increased complications and entitlement delays(approval to build) as it's bit more difficult to approve a master plan for a large stadium than a smaller one. Seawall 337 originally had a master plan with a bit of entertainment venue and that I understand was knock down in size by the port.

Curious to see where this pans out ...but it'll be years away 2017? before we see anything.

Posted by: hhatmm at March 25, 2010 11:21 PM

Pac Bell park already hosts about 100 events a year, including the ballgames. Adding 41 basketball games plus 20-50 concerts would likely be too much, severely reducing the area's residential appeal. 100 days a year is enough of traffic jams, tourons slowly looking for a free parking spot, and drunks looking for a place to piss. And yes, I do appreciate being able to walk to ballgames.

Locate an arena near market & 8th--the area's got nowhere to go but up. Parking can be supplemented by shuttles from the Pac Bell lots.

Posted by: Delancey at March 25, 2010 11:34 PM

I think AT&T Park has proven the area to be a good spot for folks to utilize public transit to a higher degree than most any other area when attending events there ... and kinda keeps cars out of downtown. I think this would be fantastic ....

Posted by: jamie at March 26, 2010 12:33 AM

Let's see -- 1000 homes on the bay in an area that's trying to create community,critical mass, and is within walking proximity to employment centers -- or a sometimes-used arena for a sport. That's a real tough one.

Posted by: Invented at March 26, 2010 7:11 AM

I would enjoy not having to go out to oakland for warrior games. There's nothing to do around oracle arena. It's terrible to drive out there crossing the bay bridge. BART is ok, but if I could have a much shorter ride, all the better.

Posted by: bornnraised at March 26, 2010 8:02 AM

"...severely reducing the area's residential appeal...drunks looking for a place to piss."

Easy and cheap solution : a streetside pissoir. But that would never come to pass as this would violate fundamentalist PC activists because this amenity only serves males (even though males are responsible for 95% of streetside wizzing today).

Instead we get those million dollar automated toilets/shooting shacks that are out or order half the time. A simple pissoir has no moving parts and cannot break down.

Hmmm ... looks like there might be a solution for women too.

I agree with curmudgeon and others that an arena is better located a few blocks inland. Putting it right on the waterfront is almost as wasteful as putting a limo company's garage on a pier.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at March 26, 2010 9:21 AM

Uh, Jamie, please cross under the bridge on a game night and note the number of sidewalk signs offering parking at $10-30 a pop (varies with attraction of game). With all the public transit options available (muni, transbay bus station, caltrain, taxi, ferry, walk from bart), the area still gets enough car traffic to make it worthwhile for parking lots to engage in premium spot pricing.

My point is that this is ok, for 100 days a year. Add another 80 events a year to the neighborhood and you cross a tipping point where the neighborhood becomes obnoxiously less liveable.

Meanwhile, we've got a decades-old (century old?) blight that is 6th street, and mid-market. A basketball stadium would fit within one of the city blocks defined by large streets (eg. those defined by 6th or 7th or 8th and Harrison/Folsom/Mission/Market.)

While an indoor sports stadium isn't my first choice to anchor a neighborhood, bringing the 6th street or mid-market mess *up* to the standard of a neighborhood afflicted with event crowds would still be an improvement.

Posted by: Delancey at March 26, 2010 1:11 PM

Delancey - I agree with you that a mid-Market arena would do a lot for that area, but the bottom line is: How do you do it? How many individual property owning entities would have to be approached and convinced to sell to make it happen? It's not like the city owns an entire blighted block of real estate that could be razed to make way for a new arena.

Posted by: Fishchum at March 26, 2010 2:11 PM

A new competition?! Then we might have another chance at getting some decent design on this prime site (unlikely as that may be in this town)...

Posted by: citicritter at March 26, 2010 3:15 PM

Fishchum --

Dunno, and I have no idea if any of the large blocks I cited could be taken. But if you asked me how to convert prime waterfront parkland into view-blocking two-story-plus-mechanicals private restaurants on a building plan indicating "7 feet above grade", I'd have said no way in hell. Yet there they are. As someone alluded above, when the right people want, sometimes things get done.

Posted by: Delancey at March 26, 2010 7:51 PM

There is no way that the city would eminent domain out a city block in mid-Market or 6th St-- that is just a fantasy of "urban renewal" of a sort that hasn't been practiced in SF in decades.

On the other hand, I think it would be possible to put an arena on the site in Mission Bay-- if kept away from the water, and if the northern and eastern flanks of the property become a public park (on top of an underground garage). And there is not yet enough of a neighborhood immediately adjacent to the site to disrupt (residents of future housing will know what they are getting into).

Posted by: Dan at March 26, 2010 8:11 PM

The water table in Mission Bay is very high. Underground garage in Mission Bay would require the developer to build it underwater; which rarely justify investment cost. None of the new MB buildout has underground parking as evidence.

Posted by: hhatmm at March 26, 2010 8:56 PM

I believe the existing plans call for underground parking for the Giants, under the great lawn and the buildings. I don't know whether part of what is "underground" in the current plans is an above sea level mound.

Posted by: Dan at March 27, 2010 7:10 PM

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