San Francisco's Golden State Warriors basketball team recently abandoned a 13-acre bayfront site along the Embarcadero at city-owned Piers 30-32 for the team's future arena. Instead, the team revealed, on April 22, a purchase deal for a privately held, 12-acre vacant parcel, 1.7-miles south in Mission Bay. The site is near but not over the bay.
The move followed two years of development that was plagued with rising costs and growing public concern, which prompted a referendum, this June, that requires a public vote on any waterfront development that exceeds the city's height restrictions. The proposed venue, designed by Snøhetta, had received a city variance for its 125-ft height—85 ft taller than the city limit.
The site's critics, led by former Mayor Art Agnos, were concerned about traffic, environmental impacts and blocked views of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. "This shows the value of community involvement and active participation in developing plans for the future," Argos said in a statement.
Six different development plans for the piers have been scuttled since 1993. The cost of the privately funded, $1-billion Warriors' scheme, which included a hotel, a residential tower and retail, got pricier amid design changes that lowered the arena height by 10 ft, reduced its size by 30,000 sq ft and added more public space. The project also required costly infrastructure upgrades, including a two-berth fire station, a deepwater berth for large ships, greater public pier access and a stormwater filtration system.
The Warriors also had agreed to fix the piers at a $180-million cost, which doubled since 2012. The team says it has spent $20 million on the piers' scheme. Some of those funds will carry over to the new location.
The design team now is revising the arena development's plans and adding a 5.5-acre park, with the goal of completing construction in 2018, says P.J. Johnston, Warriors spokesman. It is too early for cost estimates, he says.