A Golden State Warriors arena plan on the downtown San Francisco waterfront is drawing criticism for requiring a heavier taxpayer subsidy than AT&T Park, but experts say the project requires more subsidy because it is a much grander endeavor.
The NBA team is proposing a billion-dollar-plus arena at Piers 30-32, just north of AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants, per SFGate:
It includes a 17,500-seat arena on a rebuilt 13-acre concrete pier that is slowly eroding into the bay, 105,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, a practice facility, terraced public plazas that cover a 630-car parking garage, and a kayak launch. Across the street, the project would include condominiums, more retail, parking and a hotel, city documents show. At least half of the area on the pier would be public open space.
Is this a good investment for San Francisco?
The issue: who should pay to rebuild the pier. The Warriors want to see the city pay $120 million and the team would remove the bad pier and put in a new one, but the problem is that city estimates say the pier is only worth $61 million.
And there’s the much larger issue of benefits received by the Warriors when compared to what the Giants received. All in all, the city put $27 million into the ballpark, which cost $320 million some 13 years ago, compared to the $120 million sought by the Warriors on a 1.2-billion project. Sue Hestor, an attorney who opposed AT&T Park construction on behalf of area residents, is also leading the opposition to the arena project, saying the real cost to taxpayers would be much higher. Local residents are also worried about the potential of increased traffic; the overall goal is to create a larger entertainment district between the arena and AT&T Park.
Still, it’s not as though there are a lot of other uses for the pier space: it can’t be converted to more lucrative residential space, and given the poor condition of the pier, it will need to be replaced no matter what. The city’s Board of Supervisors budget committee will be discussing the issue this week; look for a protracted discussion over the next several months.
Image courtesy Golden State Warriors / AECOM.