Golden State Warriors

Bye-bye, Piers 30/32 – Warriors purchase Salesforce site in Mission Bay for new arena

According to numerous reports, the Golden State Warriors will purchase land from Salesforce in the Mission Bay area of San Francisco, just south of Pier 50. That means instead of spending loads of money and time on environmental impact reports and construction for a new arena at Piers 30/32 (and avoiding a fight with NIMBYs in that area who don’t want to lose their waterfront view or deal with increased traffic in their neighborhood), they’ll have a good shot at opening up a new 18,000-seat arena in 2018.

Warriors arena siteThe new site won’t provide the same views of the bay, but it’s hard to determine why that was important in the first place, considering it would be an indoor sports venue. It would’ve made for a stunning walk to said arena, and television crews would’ve had an easy time setting up beautiful shots of the arena with the Bay Bridge or downtown San Francisco in the background, but that’s not reason enough to spend extra hundreds of millions.

A lot of people are laughing at Joe Lacob and Ed Lee today in light of this news. Lacob sounded absolutely sure this thing was going to get done, and in hindsight the press conference hosted by Ahmad Rashad that included David Stern, Gavin Newsom and others looks rather silly. Lee called the waterfront arena his “legacy project,” which means he’ll either need a new project or his legacy will be cemented as being the guy who called Stephen Curry “Steve.”

It’s always tempting to mock those with wealth and power when their fancy plans go up in smoke, but I’m not sure how what they did was so bad. Nothing is going on at Piers 30/32, and the Warriors and Lee came up with an ambitious plan. Too ambitious, sure, but it’s not like they broke ground and had to stop construction because the new arena was going to sink into the bay. They tried, it didn’t work, but this new site (which is close to public transportation) should allow the team to privately finance the project themselves on land they own.

The rich, powerful guy that’s the most upset over this development could be San Francisco Giants CEO Larry Baer.

Wendy knows a lot more about this stuff than I do … perhaps the Giants are totally fine with the Warriors’ new site, but we’ve heard nothing from Baer or anyone else on the team one way or the other. In any case, the Giants will be fine — and highly profitable — for the foreseeable future.

As usual, the only people who really have any reason to be upset are the ones without the kind of money or power wielded by Baer, Lacob and Lee. Yes, today’s news effectively guarantees the Warriors will be the first professional franchise to leave Oakland. This was seen as inevitable anyway, but as problems with the Piers 30/32 site mounted, hope grew that the Warriors might be forced to stay. 

It’s not like the Warriors are moving away, like when the Seattle Supersonics headed to Oklahoma City of all places. But East Bay residents — citizens of Oakland in particular — are probably more than a little sad that the Warriors can’t wait to head across the bay, despite the amazing support they’ve received throughout their time in Oakland. But since the Warriors are the only basketball team in the region (unless you count the Sacramento Kings), Lacob and the rest of the team’s ownership group know they’ll have no problem filling up an arena, no matter where it’s located.

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