Warriors look at SF arena sans Giants

It looks like the Warriors won’t be partnering up with the Giants for an arena after all, which, if Matier and Ross are correct, is the best decision the franchise has made under the Lacob-Gruber ownership group. Instead of building on the parking lots south of China Basin, the Warriors’ arena could end up at Piers 30 & 32, which were recently abandoned as part of the America’s Cup project due to the cost of development.

The new foundation, which would consist of hundreds of deeply driven piles, would cost $80 million. The piers are currently an 11-acre parking lot, so there’s ample room for an arena, parking, and as would be expected, green space.

It’s a supremely attractive location, at the foot of the Bay Bridge and equidistant from both BART and Caltrain (3/4 mile). The only issues are a lack of parking in the vicinity and potential EIR difficulties stemming from the visual impact of the structure. You can imagine the bumper videos of ferries approaching a bayside arena during Warriors broadcasts, with the Bay Bridge and Financial District in the background.

Matier and Ross argue that the W’s are getting rid of a middleman in the Giants, which is probably correct, but it’s easy to see them exchanging one partner for another. It makes sense for the W’s to partner with AEG or another arena operator to defray some of the cost. If we’re projecting to a 2017 or 2018 opening, the cost of the arena could run $700 million easily, maybe more. Key to the deal is the fact that the W’s don’t currently operate Oracle Arena, since they have no control over it. SMG operates the arena instead, and while SMG could pitch the W’s on operating an arena in SF, I imagine that their history leaves something to be desired.

The arena could be anywhere from 120 to 150 feet tall, depending on how complex the structure is. With the lack of nearby parking, the arena could be built with 1,000+ spaces underneath. It’s more expensive, but knowing the NBA’s requirements for premium seating, also necessary. There is an example of a waterfront arena with 1,000 parking spaces built in a garage underneath. That venue happens to be in Miami, and it was designed in part by 360 Architecture, the same firm working with the A’s.

American Airlines Arena (Image from Wikimedia Commons)

On second thought, maybe it’ll cost $1 billion.

53 thoughts on “Warriors look at SF arena sans Giants

  1. why is victory court not being considered for the warriors arena? though i think it would be a bad site for the A’s i think it would work perfectly for the warriors. if the warriors are so intent on building near the water, victory court is better than all these SF sites. downtown oakland is nicer and cleaner than downtown SF and victory court is way more accessible for people all around the bay area than these sites.

  2. Acv, to put it simply, “Because Oakland is not San Francisco.”

  3. Gnats not getting their way – partnering with Warriors to build arena at China basin – a nice schadenfruede moment for us A’s fans. 😉

  4. @jeffrey. that is why i HATE the bay area and its stupid BS. i live closer to SF than oakland and i would way rather go to oakland than SF. oakland is nicer. SF is a dirty city than is only nice when your looking on in from the outside. i cant stand how it is made up by the media and idiotic tourists/peninsula residents. i hate hearing “oakland isnt san francisco.” it makes me sick. though im fine with an A’s move to san jose, there is ABSOLUTELY NO LOGICAL REASON FOR THE WARRIORS TO LEAVE OAKLAND

  5. How much do u wanna bet Warriors stay in Oakland? Lol

  6. Lacob might not get booed in SF but I would bet that the new fans won’t come out to see a terrible basketball team year after year like they do in Oakland.

  7. @ Jeffrey ” to put it simply, Because Oakland is not San Francisco.” Agreed, but not many other cities in the entire world are either, thanks to the media. Oakland has been competing for decades with at least a top 5 World City, which, undoubtedly is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Not trying to be an Oakland pumper here but I would argue that “Oakland,” which includes some outside suburbs has some of the best restaurants in the country. Go to JLS on a nice summer weekend and, IMHO, the scenery and vibe is way better than pier 39, the wharf, etc. I have worked in the city for nearly 20 years now and have seen every area from the sunset to the mission to nob hill. I have partied in the marina, flew kites with my boys at chrissy field, and played golf at some obscure courses in the hills of this city. No doubt it’s a great city but I never understood what outsiders found so attractive. I will take an afternoon of Zack’s Pizza in Berkeley and a drive on Skyline blvd in the Oakland Hills any day over a $300 lunch at some crap fish place on the water in SF. I say this because I actually paid that amount for a steak and lobster lunch for me and a girl who eventually became my wife and the food sucked. I’ve had better lobster at Benihana! At least they don’t overcook it. I won’t say the name of the place (it begins with “S” and ends with “S”) but that goes to show you how much the “perception” of the city translates into things like this. If I was Warren Buffett I suppose I wouldn’t care.

  8. ACV, the same reasons Victory Court didn’t work for the A’s are the same reasons it likely wouldn’t work for the Warriors. No city will, dozens of landowners (many unwilling to sell), no public money for infrastructure improvements, etc…

  9. if the warriors werent hell bent on moving to SF though, they wouldnt have a problem with privately financing their arena at victory court which is a much more desirable location than pier 39 once you do your research and learn about how overrated SF is and underrated downtown oakland is. i didnt want the athletics to go to victory court because theres no way they could compete with another waterfront ballpark. but for an arena with no competition, why not build in the best waterfront site available in the entire bay area? the warriors dont need the help of oaklands idiotic government to build their arena in the best location.

  10. ACV, of course they would. Oakland’s gov’t would have to help with surrounding development of infrastructure that doesn’t exist at VC yet. They’d be needed to initiate eminent domain proceedings against unwilling to sell landowners. They’d be needed for neighborhood outreach to calm those that don’t want the arena there. You need a city gov’t involvement even if they’re not paying for the arena itself. Which is another problem quite frankly. The Warriors probably see more return on investment in SF than they do in Oakland despite your perceived merits that the VC site has over Pier 30 (not 39). Also I’d argue that Pier 30 IS a better waterfront site than Victory Court. Hell Pier 30 is a better site than China Basin. It’s right on the bay itself, not the Oakland estuary like VC. Add in the Bay Bridge, Muni AND Bart access. Pier 30 is arguably the best site they could possibly build an arena. Not saying VC is bad, it’s easily the best site in Oakland other than the Uptown/Lake Merit site the city was looking to put the A’s on 12 year ago, but it’s also not Pier 30. And I’m saying this as someone who is not fond of SF in general.

    • @ACV – The advantage of Piers 30/32 is that the cost of the site is known. Expensive, but known. Victory Court has no known cost, and could actually be more expensive than SF when all is said and done. A wholly owned site anywhere is attractive, but especially when it’s on the SF waterfront.

  11. I spend very little time in San Francisco. I agree that parts of Oakland are way cooler than parts of San Francisco (I have written about this in a lot of different places). To pretend that those of us who feel this way are not in a very small minority of the overall population, however, is pretty funny.

  12. What is the appeal of an indoor sport played at night being played in a building that is next to the water? Seems like a waste.

  13. Pier 30-32 will never happen. First the height limit is 40′. Second, the basketball arena’s are windowless boxes. What a terrible use for the waterfront. Third the foundation cost would be astronomical.

    While I know the Warriors want to go to San Francisco. Oakland should offer the air rights over 980 freeway between 11th and 14th Streets for the Warriors. This would be opposite the A’s site I have been promoting. I overlayed the Sprint Arena from Kansas City and it works./Users/bgrunwald/Desktop/Sprint1500.jpg

  14. Oracle Arena is fine, the Warriors don’t have to rush into anything. Even if its 2022 before they get a new arena, who cares.

  15. theres nothing wrong with oracle arena at all. the only thing i would change is wider concourses. coliseum city needs to work out. i know its a longshot and very unlikely but the warriors have no legit reason to leave oakland. they know it which is why theyre being so quiet on the matter. plus oakland having an extremely lame government doesnt help at all. the fact is the warriors should be trying to stay in oakland no matter what the govt does. its ridiculous to think that theyd be any better off in SF

  16. and whats the big draw of being on the water when its a basketball arena? you cant even see out! if they want to build on the water, just build at VC which is more accessible and closer to a better downtown.

  17. Jesse’s got a point. The Warriors rush is more ownership driven than the A’s. Oracle is by and large a 1996 vintage arena (since all but the bones of the old arena were ripped out during the rebuild). Their arena contains all the modern bullcrap that the owners need to make a successful go of it in the interim. Only real downside is location, but that’s hardly crippled the team historically. The situation is far different from the A’s who’ve always been hamstrung by their stadium’s position, and by the fact the Coliseum is now the oldest stadium in MLB that hasn’t had some form of baseball friendly renovation in the last 25 years and currently lacks most of the money making amenities that MLB venues need. Not to mention the A’s have been looking for a new home for over a decade and a half now, the Warriors just started looking in the last month and a half or so.

  18. @Bryan. I laughed when i saw you mention that 980 park site again. personally im totally against that for baseball but for basketball i think it would be an excellent site. you should forget about promoting a baseball stadium there (because that is not going to happen) and just start lobbying for the warriors to build there

  19. ACV, you may love Oakland, but fact is a team can make more money in SF, draw in more fans in SF, and draw in more free agents in SF. Oakland does not compare, never has, never will. Ignoring that reality is just being pig headed.

  20. oak to 9th, victory court? all these locations at the waterfront or near downtown and it doesn’t seem any sporting venue will be built in those areas. raiders seem like the most realistic team that will stay in oakland but all we hear is the coliseum site rather than these venues that would do wonders for the downtown area.

  21. What ever happened to getting new scoreboards? I thought they ran out of parts to fix the current ones if they broke?

  22. @Nicosan that’s depressing.

  23. Wonder if anymore showed up in the 1st or 2nd inning. Because that “crowd” is Dolphin Stadium in September bad.

  24. @Dan when has SF ever been a big draw for free agents? It hasn’t been a big draw for either baseball or football. The fact that the Warriors play their games in Oakland does not prevent the players from living in or taking advantage of the entertainment options available in SF. NBA free agents want to play for winning organizations and with other great players. That’s how they will attract free agents. And by the way, the Warriors are one of the highest grossing revenue teams in the NBA. Not bad for a team that’s been to the playoffs only 3 times in the last 20 years,

  25. The Warriors will do great where ever they have an arena. They are the only NBA team in the Bay Area for crying out loud.

  26. @JaneMLB just tweeted the announced attendance is 10,054.

  27. Sure… and I have a rabbit that lays technicolor eggs.

  28. If the person counting attendance was running the scoreboard, the A’s would have won 21-0!

  29. Dan, you think the Warriors will draw better in San Francisco year after year of not being competitive?

  30. “ACV, you may love Oakland, but fact is a team can make more money in SF, draw in more fans in SF, and draw in more free agents in SF.”
    That’s interesting, because the 49ers and Giants had a huge problem getting high quality free agents during their losing periods. Meanwhile, the Raiders, a losing franchise and in *gasp* Oakland, never has had a problem pulling in big names. Players outside the Bay Area don’t have our “SF is everything” mindset. Ownership and winning are the key elements in attracting free agents, then comes the surrounding area ( of which, Oakland shares with SF, btw).

  31. Also, the Warriors have never had an attendance issue in Oakland.

  32. Ted, it’s worked for the Giants prior to their surprising 2010 season.

  33. Dan, the Warriors have a great fan base in Oakland if you want to use the Giants as an example of why the Warriors would draw well in SF no matter what wouldn’t that mean that nothing can save the A’s since they can’t draw in the town where the miserable Warriors can?
    The Giants won 90 games or more for five straight years before the four seasons of rebuilding.

  34. @ eb – “Ownership and winning are the key elements in attracting free agents,”. LOL….the RAider’s dysfunctional ownership and winning ways are attracing FAs? I think you’re confusing attraction of FA via $$$ vs. popularity. Point is, FAs is a poor metric as say attendance. The Niner’s and Raiders both have had losing seasons for a while, and how did both do? Who constantly has blacked out games now? :X

    @ Ted – As Jeffrey noted, you fail to understand that the W’s are the only basketball attraction in the Bay Area. Even when they played in SJ, they sold out every game as well. However, they can expand their corporate and revenue base by moving to more prestigious SF area. In today’s modern business of sports, money means everything in attracting FA’s, sponsorship, etc.

    • @all – The W’s did better in terms of attendance in San Jose than in Oakland, but SJ Arena was not sold out that year (96-97) and the old Coliseum Arena’s capacity was rather low (15,025). After the renovation, the W’s did not pass 17k per game until 2006, and they didn’t sell out the Oakland Arena routinely until 2007-08.

  35. @ ML – my bad.didn’t realize that basketball capacity of HP Pavllion was 18549. If it’s that high, why are rennovations needed for an NBA team again?

  36. Warriors will immediately become the San Francisco Warriors and become a more desirable location for free agents. That’s the way it is.

  37. Ted, very likely yes in answer to your question.

  38. @ Jeffrey – I agree that I am in the minority. As a longtime worker in the city I have spent much time there and that’s probably why I’m not as awestruck with it as tourists are. I have seen both the positives and negatives of the place many times over. I can see, however, how people who only visit would love it because it is beautiful no doubt.

  39. Im looking forward to getting back to the coliseum in May. I miss it. Been a couple of years. How are the concessions at the Coliseum these days? Have any recommendations for microbrew or brewpub type places off the BART in Oak?

  40. @Anon – The lower bowl at HP Pavilion is not set up to maximize seating revenue. The NBA will demand a change to that before any team moves there permanently.

  41. Nicosan, Take BART to the Rockridge station and walk up and down College Ave. There are plenty of cool places to eat up and down the street. My favorite is called The Crepevine (not really a brew pub). Right next door is a cool little bar called Ben and Nick’s Bar and Grill. I have only been there once (while I was drinking my suds Grant Balfour gave up a game ending homer to some Blue Jay guy, so it is probably cursed).
    I have only been to one game thus far, but the Coliseum has some pork nachos that are calling me…

  42. ML or others: no one here is mentioning the fact that SF does not currently have an arena, and is losing a lot of arena acts/events to Oakland and SJ as a result. I would imagine a large percentage, if not the majority, of the acts/events occurring in Oakland or SJ would prefer to be in SF. I suspect the opportunity to capitalize on this market opportunity may be the real draw for the W’s owners, though the increase in franchise value that will be attributed to a new shiny SF arena will also be nice.

    If the ownership partners AEG or the like to help make this arena a reality, I would assume the venture would be structured in a way that the W’s ownership benefits from some of the non-basketball events as well.

  43. Chris Cohan made a strange play moving back to Oakland from San Jose in 1997. As ML pointed out it was not until 2005-2006 when the Warriors started to get better attendance than they did in San Jose at Oracle Arena.

    Now granted he wanted his own place but he could have charged far higher prices in San Jose…..A Warriors nose bleed seat against a bad team can be had for $5-$7 dollars while the same at a Sharks game is $30 dollars minimum.

    Basketball less expensive than Hockey? I wonder in how many markets that holds true?

    The reason why attendance finally went up? Baron Davis arrived during the 2004-2005 season and he was the first real PG they had since the Tim Hardaway days. He brought excitement to fan base for the first time in years.

    In 2005-2006, Davis was hurt and the team struggled but his mere presence from the previous season sold tickets at a rampant rate and then of course 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 were highly successful season on the court.

    That success has bled over until now and a new ownership helped as well. Although the boos at Chris Mullin night may not reflect that overall most W’s fans are happy Cohan is long gone.

    This plus the Warriors play a fun style of basketball which maybe the wrong way to play but at least they lose and look pretty.

    As for a San Francisco arena, the Pier 30-32 location is far superior than Oakland or even San Jose.

    People work near there and can walk to games. Public transportation exists already and the area in general is quite safe and has bars, restaurants, and parking from ATT Park pre-existing which is only .7 of a mile away.

    ATT Park fits 40K while an arena would be only 20k. People can even park in the ATT lots and walk it or take a shuttle. Of course the Giants would want some $$ from that but I am sure that can be worked out.

    There are also other lots nearby that are used for commuters but clear out by 6pm usually. Those pay lots can be used for games as well and are right there.

    Oracle Arena has none of those amenities nearby and is in flat out a unsafe area of Oakland. To argue which location is better makes me scratch my head.

    I wish the Warriors luck in their endeavor, a team in SF in that location makes me think of getting 10 games and make the drive up from San Jose……Something I will not do with the team in Oakland right now due to traffic being horrendous on 880…..I can take 280N the whole way and not have any traffic to Pier 30-32.

  44. @Sid – There are cheap nosebleeds at every every NBA arena because the league asks every team to maintain a certain percentage of seats for every game as affordable seating. Some teams are more compliant than others.

  45. WR, I think the poaching of concerts is a larger concern for Oakland than San Jose. Primarily because most arena shows that come through the bay play at both Oracle Arena and HP Pavillion. It’s probable that they would continue to book one in the north, one in the south.

  46. Jeffrey nailed it! For all intent purposes, an SF arena will replace Oracle as the arena for SF, OAK and the northern Bay Area. HP Pavilion will remain acting as the primary arena of Silicon Valley, Fremont south and the northern Central California Coast.

  47. “and whats the big draw of being on the water when its a basketball arena? you cant even see out!”
    I”m sure they’d build it with glass walls so you’d have bay views as you moved around the concourses. You wouldn’t be immmersed in the views the same way as at AT&T Park, but it would still be an enhancement to the experience.
    “if they want to build on the water, just build at VC”
    You can’t possibly compare the water views at VC to those at PIer 30-32.
    “which is more accessible and closer to a better downtown”
    Which downtown is “better” is subjective, although I think you’d find favoring Oakland to be a minority opinion. But VC is no more accessible than PIer 30-32. As for which is closer to downtown, if you’re talking about the Financial District, maybe, but Pier 30-32 is right in the heart of SOMA and therefore has equal or better acess to restaurants/bars as VC.

  48. i just think its ridiculous for someone to say that you can draw free agents in SF but not oakland. that is just too funny

  49. winning is more important thn location of the team. when your franchise is one of the worst over the past 30 years and seen winning teams dismantled for stupid reasons and all the antics by the owner/front office, no players of significance will want to sign with the w’s.

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