The Golden State Warriors (NBA) have put plans for a new arena on hold, pending the results of an expected referendum on San Francisco waterfront development. Opponents of tall San Francisco waterfront development say the arena and associated development would cut off views of the bay from most of the city, and they launched a petition drive to put the issue to voters. With it a certainty that voters will be asked to approve San Francisco waterfront development, coupled with increasing costs for the ambitious project, the Warriors are slowing down their development efforts, which means a 2017 opening is out of the question. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
In the past 20 months, the team has produced three rough designs in an attempt to come up with one palatable to its prospective waterfront neighbors and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, which must approve the deal. In the meantime, cost estimates for preparing Piers 30-32, on which the arena would sit, have doubled to $180 million.
The Warriors’ acknowledgement that a 2017 opening won’t happen comes just days before arena opponents are expected to turn in more than 15,000 signatures for a measure that would require the Warriors — and any other developer — to win voter approval to exceed current height limits along the waterfront. The deadline is Monday.
“We are going to ensure that the Warriors arena goes before voters,” said Jim Stearns, the political consultant who is running the campaign for a June vote with the backing of the Sierra Club and others opposed to the 18,000-seat arena.
On the one hand, getting 15,000 signatures opposing development isn’t that hard to do in San Francisco. But doing it in less than three weeks is significant. And the measure limiting the height of waterfront development would affect several projects besides the arena, including condo projects from both the Warriors and the San Francisco Giants near AT&T Park.