In an interview with Spero Dedes and Reggie Miller during Saturday’s summer league game between the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns, Warriors owner Joe Lacob refused to comment on the recent Kevin Love rumors or make a prediction on the 2014-15 season.
He did volunteer some thoughts on the team’s future home in San Francisco, in the process hinting that the current goal to open their planned new Mission Bay arena in 2018 may not be set in stone.
“We’ve got a new arena in San Francisco, which has been a lot of work, which is actually really going to happen,” said Lacob. That led Miller to ask whether there was a target date.
“We’ve said 2018, and that’s the goal to open it. We’re going to try to beat that. I’m not making any promises, because you never know. But it looks pretty good to certainly make the ’18 date, at a minimum,” Lacob said.
The Warriors hoped to open a new arena in San Francisco in time for the 2017-18 season back when they announced plans to build at Piers 30-32. Rick Welts told the San Francisco Chronicle in February that the team’s ambitious waterfront project (which the Warriors officially scrapped a couple months later) would have to be pushed back a year.
“It’s about getting it right, not about getting it done fast,” Welts said.
Now that the Warriors are free of the environmental and political obstacles presented by the site along the Embarcadero, it sounds like Lacob hopes the original move-in date may be back in play.
“We went out and bought the land. Unusual step. 12 acres,” said Lacob. “We’re going to build an amazing facility, and all kinds of facilities around it.”
Miller changed the subject back to the current team’s chances of contending in the Western Conference, so Lacob wasn’t given an opportunity to discuss what he meant by “all kinds of facilities.” The Warriors’ current practice facility is at the Marriott in downtown Oakland, but the Warriors could put in a team store, restaurants, bars, a parking structure, or even residential units. To put the Warriors’ site in perspective, L.A. Live — which includes the Staples Center, the Grammy Museum, a movie theater, hotels and much more, sits on 27 acres.
Lacob might look a little closer south and try to match what the 49ers did with their new facility. The 49ers originally planned to open their new Santa Clara stadium in 2015. But in February of 2012, Santa Clara mayor Jamie Matthews guaranteed the new facility would be ready for the 2014 NFL season. That was after Santa Clara leaders reached an agreement with Turner-Devcon that called for strict financial penalties if the project fell behind schedule.
Ground was officially broken on the stadium on April 19, 2012. The Levi’s Stadium ribbon-cutting ceremony is on Thursday. But while Levi’s has a team museum built in, it isn’t a “Sports and Entertainment Center,” which is how the Warriors’ new arena and surrounding area is described on a team website that includes arena FAQs.
On that page it says, “Plans for the arena are still in the conceptual stages and its dimensions have not yet been determined.” Also, “a specific groundbreaking date has not been set, but the team is still targeting the 2018-19 season for opening its new arena.” If the Warriors want to get on a 49ers-like accelerated schedule, it appears they would need to break ground on this project by next summer at the latest.