Piers 30-32 Stadium Watercolor
With San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee characterizing it as his “legacy project” and the Golden State Warriors owners now making statements (“It is going to happen – let there be no doubt”), a scheme to bring the Warriors back to San Francisco with plans to build a new arena upon Piers 30-32 in time for the 2017-18 season is moving full steam ahead.

The arena would also host conventions and entertainment events such as concerts, [Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob] said. Plans for the site also include 100,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space.

The crumbling, 13-acre pier is owned by the Port of San Francisco, which now uses it for parking. Under a deal between the team and Mayor Ed Lee’s administration, the port would hand the Warriors a long-term lease in exchange for the team building the arena and investing heavily in fixing the pier.

In addition, the team is seeking control of a port-owned, 2-acre lot across the Embarcadero from the pier, which is also now used for parking. The Warriors haven’t said what they would do with the land.

As proposed, the estimated $500 million project would be financed by the team and not the city (nor its taxpayers) and the designs at this point are simply conceptual.
Warriors Stadium Interior Concept
While the development would include parking for the team and a few “premium” spots, the team plans to leverage existing “public and private lots and garages within walking distance of the site” for fans that drive to the arena.
Keep in mind that in addition to any neighborhood opposition and Planning “hoops” that the project will have to jump through, development on the piers will require Bay Conservation and Development Commission approval which the Warriors hope to secure by including “a new marina, or ferry and water-taxi service to the arena” as part of the project.
ESPN Source: Warriors Are Committed To Moving To San Francisco [SocketSite]
Warriors to build new arena, move back to S.F. [SFGate]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by anon

    Seems a waste to put a huge enclosed arena on prime waterfront space.
    And very odd that this is being presented as a slam dunk. Look at all of the controversy that came with the America’s Cup…and the AC basically will make no permanent changes to the city. This is a way bigger deal than the AC and needs a ton of scrutiny.

  2. Posted by martin

    Well if you look at the renderings the concourses will have a open view to the water. It looks like the entire thing is enclosed in glass.

  3. Posted by Lance

    I think this is great news! I’d rather have an arena that will generate tax revenue rather than build more “luxury” condos frankly or just leave it as a crumbling pier. While there is no doubt that it will hit some opposition, all 11 members of the BOS have apparently signed a letter saying that they are on-board (for what that’s worth).
    I feel pretty good that this one will eventually get done, and it might actually help relieve some of the sting from losing the 49ers — even if the Warriors traditionally play about as well as my old high school squad. I’m surprised about the lukewarm reception that it’s been getting by most Socketsite readers honestly. Can someone elaborate on why they are against this?

  4. Posted by Michael

    “And very odd that this is being presented as a slam dunk.”
    Agreed! They would have to start building in two years to make their timeline which I don’t see happening.
    Design and environmental review alone will take two years!
    Add NIMBY opposition, legal battles and the BCDC into the mix and I don’t see how they could get started for at least another five years at least.

  5. Posted by RR

    How about San Jose, or Walnut Creek, or Concord, or San Raphael, or Fresno?

  6. Posted by sparky-b

    I for one am very excited about the Warriors moving to SF, and I like this location for them. The T line can take people from the Caltrains up to the pier just like it goes from Market to AT&T now (past pier 30). So the T can be used in both directions for this. Plus you can walk from the Caltrains, you could walk from the future Transbay Terminal.
    For me if it’s on pier 30 I will take the Muni, if it’s in China Basin I’ll drive. Either way I am going to go to a lot more Warriors games. Not to mention all the other concerts and events that can happen. SF doesn’t have this size venue, it would bring a lot to the city

  7. Posted by Lance

    “Add NIMBY opposition, legal battles and the BCDC into the mix and I don’t see how they could get started for at least another five years at least.”
    This city has a horrendous record on getting things done quickly, but if this was just about anywhere else – no one would be worried about the aggressive timeline. It is certainly possible to get this completed in time for 2017 — wouldn’t bet on it, but it’s possible.
    @RR – you spelled San Rafael wrong, and you also didn’t mention Bakersfield as an option :-)

  8. Posted by R

    “Add NIMBY opposition, legal battles and the BCDC into the mix and I don’t see how they could get started for at least another five years at least.”
    I’d be very surprised if Lee doesn’t already have agreement from BCDC.

  9. Posted by sfjhawk

    “Seems a waste to put a huge enclosed arena on prime waterfront space.”
    Not like a ‘waste,’ as in how the space has been used the past 15 years (time that I’ve lived in SF, so likely longer): open air parking lot, host to x-game events, staging for the kaboom events, etc.? (a little snark here)
    As a soma resident, I’m excited to see this happen; the sooner the better!

  10. Posted by anon

    “Can someone elaborate on why they are against this?”
    Can someone elaborate why they are against yachts which will race on the bay for a few weeks and then disappear?
    It’s just odd that there has been zero community feedback solicited on this project. Not the best way to start. Look at how significantly different the AC ended up being compared to the original concept.

  11. Posted by DanRH

    As a basketball fan, I’m obviously excited by the news. Agree that there might be slightly better spots to actually put this thing in SF but jeez, overall, I like the idea of a) the team coming back to SF, and b) SF finally getting a venue to host major concerts and conferences.
    I can imagine the latter (conferences) would help the city.
    Anyway, would be so nice not to have to do the trip all the way over to Oracle Arena to catch a major concert and all.
    btw, didn’t we read about the traffic nightmares that were to be PacBell park? I remember. All the SOMA folks hated the idea, said the 7pm games will coincide with major commute home, how it was going to a complete disaster. Never really materialized for the most part.

  12. Posted by sf

    This will be great! I’m not into basketball, but a local venue for concerts is a huge amenity for the city. Why should Oakland and San Jose get our money every time an act comes into the Bay Area?

  13. Posted by rabbits

    I can tell there are a lot of hoops fans here.
    Most of the Dubs fans are in the East Bay, and BART is a major part of how they enjoy the Coliseum complex. Mission Bay won’t work as it’s over a mile from BART.
    This is a great concept, and I wish it could get done sooner. The less ‘community feedback’ the better, lest we end up with bay windows and faux-victorian embellishments on the building.

  14. Posted by Fishchum

    This looks to be a fantastic project – it’ll be a real plus in terms of revenue for the city not only for games but for concerts and other events as well.
    Much like AT&T Park, it’ll force people to leave the cars at home and use public transit – it’s walking distance from BART and the future Transbay Terminal, and light rail will literally pull up to the arena. I’d love to see a ferry dock constructed with this and ferries used for Marin and East Bay residents – I have friends who use it for Giants games and love it.

  15. Posted by BobN

    Let’s see. We’ve got plans to build a large, windowless box. Let’s put it on the place with the best views…
    Open-air venue on the waterfront = great idea.
    Enclosed space offering no views from the inside except as you walk up and down access ramps to the high seats = really, really stupid.

  16. Posted by Bob

    F**k community feedback. Community feedback is just code for making sure nothing happens ever.
    This is added revenue for the city and no more treks to Otown or SJ for concerts. Plus we are using a crumbling pier which is used for parking now.
    Win win win

  17. Posted by Helmut

    Outstanding idea to transform an underused space in dire need of major upgrades into a huge win for the City.
    What a great space for concerts and games. Superior in many ways to football, as there are more games per year, (41). No worries about baseball conflicts as the seasons do not overlap, so a lot of the same transit and parking infrastructure can be shared. Great exposure for local bars and restaurants, another reason for tourists to come, and best of all, NO TAXPAYER MONEY.
    If Lee, the BOS and the residents of San Francisco, can get this done, this will be a huge positive for the City for decades

  18. Posted by NJ

    What if the roof of the arena were turned into a public park?
    Win win win win

  19. Posted by eddy

    I hope they put a giant TV screen on the bay side so boats can pull up and watch the game on the big screen. And they should randomly fire basketballs into the water so people in canoes can paddle out to get them.
    Actually, this would add lots of jobs and massive net-benefit (get it, ‘net’ benefit) to the city. Plus it gives SF the option to host a hockey team at some point as well.
    I would agree that the design of such a proposed stadium in such a key location would need to be stellar and not just some giant box like the HP Pavilion Arena in San Jose. This needs to be a showcase piece for the city.

  20. Posted by Gigi

    That is wonderful news! It’s great for the city and aside from the basketball, being able to hold concerts there is another huge plus in terms of revenue. I find it so irritating as a SF resident that big acts go to Oakland and SJ right now (who the heck wants to trek all the way out there?). Isn’t having a basketball team and good concerts supposed to be part of the perk of living in a major city?
    Hallelujah! Now let’s hope the NIMBYs don’t eff this up for us.

  21. Posted by James

    “Seems a waste to put a huge enclosed arena on prime waterfront space.”
    “Enclosed space offering no views from the inside except as you walk up and down access ramps”
    Stop complaining until you see the plans. Obviously you’re not the only ones thinking about this. Consider the Sydney and Oslo opera houses, both enclosed venues which bring life to the waterfront on which they are built. It can be done.

  22. Posted by anon

    James, take a look at images of the American Airlines arena in Miami. It was designed by the same architecture firm that the Warriors are using for this arena.
    Not very inspriring to say the least. I’d change my tune if a starchitect was on board. Someone like a Santiago Calatrava.

  23. Posted by kg

    I love that it would integrate the waterfront between Ferry Building and AT&T park. People might actually have a reason to walk that stretch if it delivers on the promise of new stores/restaurants. NIMBY’s, please don’t shoot yourselves in the foot Skywalker Ranch style.

  24. Posted by Inclinejj

    Would I go over to Oakland and have lunch and or dinner before a game. Maybe to Francisco’s down the street. Would I stay after the game in SF for dinner or a beer or two. Hell yes. Would I make a point of staying around downtown Oakland after the game umm no!!

  25. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    As of it is being an enclosed building, I believe its footprint does not occupy the entire rectangular pier but leave a board platform so that people can walk around the building. There are a lot of opportunities to make the area great public space and to invite people to walk out to the water side for a great vista. This is something we cannot do today when it is a parking lot enclosed by chain link fence.

  26. Posted by This Isn't Gonna Happen

    Seems like most (all?) of the people on here don’t live in the neighborhood, but like to speculate or denigrate local NIMBYism.
    AT&T park games/events make access/traffic an absolute nightmare. I still love the neighborhood, don’t get me wrong, but I have to live my life with a giants schedule by my side. I don’t even dream of hitting a freeway an hour before or after any game.
    Adding 40+ basketball games, x concerts, with no additional parking (seriously?), and probably a kicker of more condos across the street (thats what the parcel is zoned for), sounds like an absolute nightmare to me, and everyone in the neighborhood, and anyone who works in the FiDi and lives on the peninsula or east bay. Add that to blocking some view from the Watermark and the Brannan, and I expect a vocal opposition.
    This is why Mission Bay makes too much sense. It doesn’t block the main arteries of traffic to freeways or the city (embarcadero, 3rd st, 2nd st, 1st st, bryant, harrison, etc), and has parking already there (to be more dense once development starts, per at&t park needs). My money is still on this whole BS as a ploy to get the Giants to give in on tough negotiations for Mission Bay land.
    And heck, even that Salesforce land would be cheaper than the cost to fix pier 30/32.

  27. Posted by kg

    “This is something we cannot do today when it is a parking lot enclosed by chain link fence.” — Amen to that. Here’s hoping we can all look at this as an opportunity rather than an loss.

  28. Posted by Michael

    I think this could be a killer project and fully support building an arena for the Warriors in San Francisco but the 2017-2018 timeline is ludicrous given the impact reports and approvals needed.
    Ed Lee should have made it his mission to broker a deal between the Warriors and Giants to include the arena in the Mission Rock development.
    http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2012/04/mission_rock_plans_dusted_off_swinging_for_2015.html

  29. Posted by James

    anon, has Arquitectonica really been retained for this? How do you know? The rendering is by FutureCities, which gives me hope for something innovative.

  30. Posted by Rillion

    I’m not a basketball fan but I’ll support this getting built as long as its not getting built with taxpayer funds, and so far it appears to be mainly private funds. Build it!

  31. Posted by sparky-b

    “My money is still on this whole BS as a ploy to get the Giants to give in on tough negotiations for Mission Bay land.”
    Well the press conference is at Pier 30 with the owners, the Mayor, and David Stern Mc’d by Amad Rashad. I don’t think it’s a ploy for the Giants land.

  32. Posted by futurist

    Oh great. A temple to honor insanely paid so called “professional” sports people, who basically bounce a ball and then attempt to toss it into a round metal ring, who slap their names on overpriced shoes made in China for young kids to beg their parents into buying for them.
    Great symbol of our city.
    Rather see housing, hotels, restaurants, and retail on this big empty parking lot.

  33. Posted by DogpatchCronicles

    Come on people…
    “Open-air venue on the waterfront = great idea.” — We call that AT&T Park.
    Have you ever gone to evening games at AT&T Park? If you have, you’d certainly welcome the warmth provided by a enclosed arena.

  34. Posted by Concerned

    I dont’t understand how this project will get through the Bay area costal district’s review. Remember the plan to put a YMCA on a pier died? I remember one of the issues was that putting a bowling alley on a pier was not special enough for the coast ie the bowling alley could be put anywhere. Isn’t a basketball area similar and could be located anywhere?

  35. Posted by Snark17

    Total awesomeness!

  36. Posted by Pat Durnal

    Having the Warriors back in the City sounds great to me a native hoopster! However as an accomplished foundation engineer putting a large safe structure elevated above water and deeply founded through soft marine clays “Bay Muds” to competent soils will be challenging in our highly seismic area. The costs will be equally distributed between the superstructure and foundations in my first impression. Should be a challenge to all involved.
    I hope they make it happen in my lifetime.

  37. Posted by Rob

    I’m all for it… It’s exciting to see such a large piece of the waterfront being redeveloped and giving access back to the public. It’d be fantastic if we got a design that was even half as iconic to our city as the Sydney Opera House is to Sydney.

  38. Posted by redseca2

    Remember, this is about a lot more than basketball. There will only be 44 Warrior games played each year in the facility, a few more if they are in the play-offs.
    To be successful the other 321 days a year, the building will really need to use the unique waterfront location.

  39. Posted by anon

    James,
    the architect is 360 architects…the co-designer of the Miami Heat’s arena (rather than Arquetonica). I’m not sure if that is final but that is what I heard.

  40. Posted by sparky-b

    “To be successful the other 321 days a year, the building will really need to use the unique waterfront location.”
    I don’t think it will need to use the unique location to be a success. It just needs to have concerts, ice shows, the circus, American Idol auditions all the regular stuff that happens at these size arenaa.

  41. Posted by sparky-b

    oh, it can also have a some college basketball.
    How about a Final4?

  42. Posted by wrath

    This is great. One more reason for people from the East Bay to head to the city.
    I would be even awesomer if they placed it on Treasure Island.
    Of course, SF ought to pay Oakland for stealing their team

  43. Posted by lyqwyd

    I don’t watch sports, or go to concerts very often, but I thoroughly support this, as long as they do a decent design for the stadium. Hopefully they add some retail / restaurants or something similar and have the entire space around the stadium as public open space.

  44. Posted by Adam

    Even having been in Oakland for 41 years, the Warriors still played for longer in San Francisco before the moved the first time. Think of it as a homecoming and not stealing. Besides, if Oakland wanted the San Francisco Warriors bad enough they could have done more to keep them.

  45. Posted by Oasis

    No way in hell this gets built for $500 million. Oracle’s estimate just to stabilize the pier was over a hundred million and climbing–they refused to cap their estimate. Stadiums never come in under budget, and marine projects never are cheap. If 500 million is the happy happy promo number I’m betting 1.2 to 1.4 billion real cost.
    “No cost to the taxpayers”. Yeah, I’m looking for the turnip truck I’m supposed to have just fallen off of. For starters there’s the 50 million in parking revenue the port (city) will be foregoing. Loss of 50 million is the same as paying 50 million. Plus, I’ll bet the city is to be maneuvered into backing stadium bonds, just like Santa Clara was for the niners new stadium. So, no cost to taxpayers if everything goes right and a massive marine construction project comes in at budget.
    5 years later: No one could have predicted cost overruns, and oh dear, we’ll have to invoke that city guarantee after all.
    This isn’t an obvious rip your face off bad deal like America’s Cup was proposing, but that doesn’t make it a good one. Let’s hear the financing terms before we celebrate.

  46. Posted by sparky-b

    “Plans for the site also include 100,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space.”

  47. Posted by lyqwyd

    Good point Oasis.
    thanks for pointing that out sparky, I can’t see how I missed that part of the story!

  48. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    ^^^ and that restaurant and retail space fits neatly beneath the bleachers, facing the exterior. More basketball arenas would create outward facing retail if they weren’t surrounded by a huge parking lot.

  49. Posted by sf

    So the entire project could be killed because of the residents of one building (The Watermark)? Has anyone actually BEEN to this area? It is one of the most dilapidated, vacant, underutilized, blighted areas in the city. I’m sorry, I don’t feel sorry for people who choose to live downtown and then get inconvenienced by downtown issues.

  50. Posted by Ivan

    yeah, this project would probably affect the residents at the watermark the most. this may not be the perfect plan and result in traffic issues, but it’s a lot better that what it is there now. it’s also a good solution fixing up the piers as the city could not afford to do so.

  51. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Adam wrote:

    Think of it as a homecoming and not stealing. Besides, if Oakland wanted the San Francisco Warriors bad enough they could have done more to keep them.

    This is what all the sports fans said when the Raiders left for Los Angeles. So to entice them to come back in 1995, $600 million in public funds later, including $220 million on stadium renovations alone, and what do they have to show for it?
    I’d like to think that San Francisco will be smarter and spend no public funds, but like Oasis, I kinda doubt the project will actually happen without it. The public funding might not be obvious, especially if financing involves so called conduit municipal bonds, but it will be there, just you wait and see.

  52. Posted by anon

    “So the entire project could be killed because of the residents of one building (The Watermark)?”
    Actually the Portside and Bayside Village are far more effected…particularly when Seawall Lot 330 is developed as part of the deal. I suspect their views will be toast. The Watermark has a diagonal orientation so that it doesn’t directly face East to pier 30-32.
    Anyway, certainly if there are elements of the arena plan that were highly objectionable (and not addressed) I would suspect the area residents will band together (a la Telegraph Hill) with a lawsuit that would effectively delay the project way beyond the 2017 targeted completion date.

  53. Posted by Helmut

    SF Biz times had a good breakdown of how this sort of thing gets paid for without taxpayer funds:
    http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2012/05/warriors-owners-to-pay-full-tab.html?ana=e_du_pub&s=article_du&ed=2012-05-22&page=2

  54. Posted by Fishchum

    Futurist – get bent. If you had the slightest clue as to how much talent these athletes have, I’d take your argument semi-seriously. Your petty whining makes you sound like you were the kid who always got picked last in gym class.
    I’m always amazed that people who whine about professional athlete’s salaries suddenly draw a blank when asked if any of the stars of the dreck Hollywood churns out deserve THEIR exorbitant salaries.
    If this is done right, it will be a fantastic addition that’ll draw in crowds who will spend money in nearby hotels and restaurants, add jobs and contribute to the city’s taxes.

  55. Posted by sf

    You could exchange “architect” with “professional sports people” and futurist’s post would be all the more relevant.
    At least when athletes are overpaid, we aren’t stuck having to look at their ugly, unimaginative garbage.

  56. Posted by concerned-neighbor

    i work a block from this project and see firsthand the traffic hell that comes with Giants games.
    adding a second traffic magnet in this area is a tough idea to swallow. the bay bridge on/off ramps are less than a mile away.
    this is SF, so the “legacy” should be to create an arena with DELIGHTFUL public transit accessible. not the MARGINAL light rail we currently have on the embarcadero.
    one option is to raze a block of mid-market, drop the arena in, and have direct access to a bart / muni station.
    if that won’t fly, the mayor needs to come up with a better option than muni light rail to pier 30.

  57. Posted by sparky-b

    Giants have +40K at their games, this is going to be 18K. So it is not the same scale.

  58. Posted by Joe

    All the armchair NIMBY’s!
    So what I’m hearing is that it would be easier to raise an entire block of occupied housing and retail in mid market then to develop a pier thats falling down and unused.
    GET A GRIP PEOPLE! Its amazing how uncomfortable San franciscans can be with good news.

  59. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    The transit option is really good.
    1.2km to Embarcadero BART
    1.2km to Transbay terminal
    1.3km to Caltrain
    1km to Pier 42
    15 minutes walk should cover this distance. Adding more N service during that time would help.
    For comparison, walking from the far end of Giants parking lot to the far end of the stadium is 900m. And how much time does it take to drive a car out of the Candlestick parking lot?

  60. Posted by futurist

    I do like the new skyline, with the supertall at the Transbay terminal.

  61. Posted by sfjhawk

    As someone who lives blocks away from the piers, the “traffic is already a nightmare w/Giants’ games traffic,” argument doesn’t hold water: 1) ‘nightmarish,’ is relative only if you’re the one who chooses to drive in/through it; 2) you live in an urban setting with major bridge and egress/ingress points from major highways and somehow don’t expect heavy traffic?
    Ditto on the idea that a ‘cleaner,’ option would be to raze a block of mid-Market. Really?
    People, be real.

  62. Posted by Oasis

    This site which monitors the niners santa clara stadium deal is instructive on how things get done:
    http://49ers.savesantaclara.org
    I liked the bit about how candlestick gets around politician gift laws by renting all of candlestick from the city except for a few seats, which as city property are then available to city officials for free.
    http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/-49erstixtolawamakers-138751044.html
    These are the guys who represent we taxpayers in negotiations with the warriors. Nice optics.
    Generate tax revenue for the city? I’ll give 10-1 odds the warriors deal will forgive all property taxes, either overtly or via lease-backs.

  63. Posted by thank-you-very-much

    Did the mayor poll whether San Franciscans even want a basketball team here??
    Unless we’re getting something of great value out of it, I’m happy to have them & their fans stay in the East Bay.
    Agree the new skyline looks great.

  64. Posted by sparky-b

    There are more SF season ticket holders than Oakland.

  65. Posted by BobN

    I do like the new skyline, with the supertall at the Transbay terminal.
    If you look at the tower and the proposed stadium, it sort of looks like a game of ring-toss. Well, donut toss.

  66. Posted by snark17

    Is the terminal tower really that tall? I thought it got chopped down to a smaller size.

  67. Posted by martin

    That rendering is a bit old. The TB tower will be 200′ shorter than shown in this picture.

  68. Posted by sf

    Transbay tower will pretty much be the same height as the tower rendered next to it. No, the new skyline is not great. Nothing exciting here, move along.

  69. Posted by futurist

    No, the new TB tower will be the single tallest building in SF; until of course another one goes higher, but it does look good and a great addition to our skyline.

  70. Posted by anon94123

    Isn’t the final TB tower only going to be 61 stories? The rendering makes it look far taller than I thought it would be when finally built.
    [Editor’s Note: The Plan For San Francisco’s Tallest Tower And Transit Center District.]

  71. Posted by Joe

    The transbay tower will be 1070′
    The building next to it will be 750′

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