By Adam Grossberg, Lisa Pickoff-White and Mina Kim
Update: 11:50 a.m., April 22
This morning, Golden State Warriors President Rick Welts confirmed that the team is moving further inland. Welts said Salesforce offered up the land near Third and 16th streets just last month.
“It’s been a very intense six weeks, and we actually finally signed the purchase agreement just this last Saturday,” Welts said.
The previous plan would have had to overcome a local ballot measure, Proposition B, that would limit the height of San Francisco waterfront developments. Campaign co-chair Jon Golinger said the Warriors knew that would be a tough fight.
“I think the Warriors saw the vote on 8 Washington last year, which was a resounding rejection of height limit increases for luxury condos. They saw how quickly we qualified this measure with overwhelming support,” Golinger said.
Update: 6:40 p.m. April 21
Mayor Edwin M. Lee today issued the following statement on the Warriors’ new arena in Mission Bay:
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome the Golden State Warriors back home to San Francisco with a brand-new, privately-financed arena in Mission Bay. This new site on privately-owned land in Mission Bay will provide a spectacular location and a more certain path to bring a transit-rich, state-of-the-art sports and entertainment arena to San Francisco.”
The Golden State Warriors today moved closer to a new arena in San Francisco.
SF Weekly and the San Francisco Chronicle report the basketball team is abandoning controversial plans to build an arena on the Embarcadero at Piers 30-32 near the foot of the Bay Bridge, and instead inked a deal to purchase a 12-acre plot in Mission Bay from Salesforce.
The new location eliminates the need for voter approval of stadium plans and avoids other regulatory obstacles. The deal, reportedly agreed upon Saturday night, would be the site of a new 18,000-seat venue ready for the 2018-2019 season.
“The problem was the there was too much political opposition and too many environmental hurdles that they had to go over for the original site, even though the original site is more desirable,” Andrew Zimbalist, professor of economics at Smith College, told KQED.
The Chronicle reports that:
“The Mission Bay site, where Salesforce originally planned to locate its corporate campus, will have a planned waterfront park across from the arena, has a Muni T-Third stop right in front of it, and already has two adjacent parking garages that can hold a combined 2,130 cars.”
Not only will the Warriors own the property outright, but owner Joe Lacob says the team will privately finance construction of the stadium.
“It might be the first time that there’s been a clear entire private funding of not only construction but also the land,” Zimbalist said. “It looks like Mr. Lacob is going the extra mile to get this deal done. And perhaps breaking new ground in terms of private financing.”
If the Warriors’ new neighbor, UC San Francisco, has any concerns, a $100 million donation to the university from Salesforce’s CEO Marc Benioff may have helped.
Salesforce had originally planned to use the site as the location for a new corporate campus, but abruptly changed course in February 2012. It recently agreed on a $560 million lease to occupy 30 floors as anchor tenant of the Transbay Tower, which is scheduled to open in 2017.
The Warriors will also have another close neighbor, AT&T Park. Both teams will have to find a way to manage crowds, especially when basketball and baseball seasons overlap. The Giants have also been eyeing a waterfront development.
“The Giants have a proposal that they’re working on to build a multi-use development with housing, retail and office space,” said Wendy Thurm, a writer who covers sports and the business of sports and tweets @hangingsliders. “Whether and how these two developments will coexist or benefit each other … remains to be seen.”
The Warriors routinely sell out at their current home, Oracle Arena in Oakland. But Lacob has been interested in raising the team’s national profile by moving it to San Francisco since he became the majority owner in 2010.
Opponents of Mayor Ed Lee’s waterfront redevelopment plan are cheering the new deal.
Art Agnos, former San Francisco mayor and supporter of Yes on B, which would limit the height of waterfront development, thinks that political pressure may have helped the Warriors reconsider.
“This is what Proposition B is all about — empowering the people of this city to participate in the decisions that affect the waterfront that belongs to all of us. The Warriors have shifted to a smarter alternative because the people, not just the politicians, became involved in the process,” Agnos said in a press release.