Warriors release arena site plan renderings

The Golden State Warriors released some long-awaited sketches of their planned waterfront San Francisco arena this afternoon. Since the team picked Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta and arena giant AECOM to draw up the arena and site plans, my thought was that they’d come up with something distinctive that “merges” the sea with the land. I wasn’t disappointed on that count.

Wide sunrise view from China Basin/Mission Bay with arena in center, Bay Bridge west span in background, AT&T Park in foreground

The plan claims to have 50% of the Piers 30/32 site used as open space, with numerous connected public spaces including an amphitheater, promenade, and multiple plazas. A long, broad, gradual staircase takes visitors from street level to what would presumably be the concourse level of the arena. From there it slope down to the water. Kayaks could dock on the south end. Not sure how popular that would be during January and February, but it could be very popular if the W’s made the finals in June.

Site plan shows how public spaces will be integrated. Southeast corner is a dock for fire and police boats.

Surprisingly, little was shown of the exterior of the arena, perhaps to indicate that the vision there isn’t yet final. From all appearances it’s glass curtainwall of some sort, though word is that the roof will tilt to allow for enhanced view of the Bay. Orientation of the arena is slightly north-northeast (from basket to basket), and it’s not symmetrical. The concourse photo below indicates a largely column-free design, though it’s not clear where services such as restrooms and concession stands would go.

Lower concourse. A ramp appears almost disconnected from the rest of the arena.

The surprising news is the intended capacity of the arena: 17,500. That would be the smallest capacity of any arena outside New Orleans or Sacramento, and would lead to an intense scarcity situation for tickets. It could also make the arena slightly cheaper to build, since there’d be less concrete needed to fill it out. Other important numbers, with my comments in brackets:

  • Venue Footprint: 170,000 square feet [3.9 acres]
  • Venue Height: 135 feet. For reference, AT&T Park is 183 feet to the light standard, 132 feet to the top of the seating bowl [Important because the Giants were able to get an exemption from the State Lands Commission because of height of the structure. The W’s are apparently mimicking this plan.]
  • Venue Seating Capacity: 17,500. For reference, the capacity of Oracle Arena is 19,596 [Prices will likely reach Staples Center/MSG levels to make it all work.]
  • Venue Total Square Footage: (excluding practice facilities and meeting rooms): 740,000 square feet [In between Barclays Center’s 675,000 and Amway Center’s 875,000, likely because of the reduced capacity.]
  • Practice Courts: 21,000 square feet [First time in the Warriors’ Bay Area history that they’ll have a co-located practice facility with the arena.]
  • Community Event Room: 10,000 square feet [Necessary carrot for City Hall/Board of Supervisors to sign on]
  • Parking Spaces: approximately 630. Piers 30-32 currently parks 1,500 cars [Probably a garage under open space area]
  • Retail: 105,000 square feet
  • Open Space: 333,000 square feet out of 548,500 square feet total. The Warriors are committed to no less than 50 percent of the site being dedicated to open space. [Open space is good to fulfill EIR requirements. Also serves double-duty as additional staging area for pre-event activities for games, concerts, etc.]

View from south end of kayak docking area

The key issue will be parking and transportation, which are already scarce in the area. 630 spaces will cover only the team, VIPs, and little else. Caltrain and BART are both a 3/4-mile walk from the site, roughly the edge of what most people are willing to walk, though having a picturesque area like the Embarcadero helps. Muni’s N and KT lines serve the Brannan station. Even with that, something will have to be done to better regulate parking management, even if means severely restricting parking in the immediate area. It could get especially dicey if there are conflicting events at AT&T Park.

Greater site plan

There’s still much to figure out and negotiate before a Warriors’ SF arena is approved. At least they’re releasing information on an aggressive schedule, which shows that they’re eager to make this happen.

33 thoughts on “Warriors release arena site plan renderings

  1. so there goes the theory the w’s will still have some presence in oakland when the move as they’ll build a practice facility next to the arena. so what happens to the downtown oakland practice facility that they’ve just done renovated.

  2. The outrage from the traditional SF/Oak media re the Warriors leaving Oakland for San Francisco is deafening! (Sarcasm). Aren’t sold out BBall games at Oracle proof that the Warriors should stay in Oakland? (Que sound of crickets from the SF/Oak media…)

  3. the outrage of the a’s moving to sj is more than the combined outrage that both the niners and w’s have received with their intentions to move out of their current location to “another” city.

  4. I just can’t understand the small capacity. I mean I get wanting to create an intimate atmosphere, with a near sellout assurance and being able to maximize profits. But to lop off over 2000 seats from an arena they not only sell out fairly regularly already but also already charge pretty exorbitant prices at… I cringe at the thought of what the prices at the SF arena are going to be. I mean even the cheap seats are going to have to be in NFL range.

  5. 17,500 max capacity? Good. That means they won’t be chasing the Sharks to get them as a tenant.

  6. The sign was on the wall when the W’s brought back the City jerseys. Warrior fans from Oakland should just stop going to their games this year as a sign of protest. Let the Warriors management get an accurate guess of how many Bay Area fans are actually from Oakland.

  7. The W’s planned 17,500 capacity certain shows how full of shit the NBA was arguing recently-renovated-at-great-taxpayer-expense-and-otherwise-state-of-the-art Key Arena was too small at 17,072.
    But then we knew that already.

  8. i think a good # of oakland fans already showed their displeasure in the possible move from oak to sf last season during the whole mullin-lacob halftime jersey retirement ceremony.

  9. Yes because fans (not just Oakland fans) classlessly booing an owner because they were angry about the Monta Ellis trade had something to do with their feelings about the team moving to San Francisco…

  10. re: Aren’t sold out BBall games at Oracle proof that the Warriors should stay in Oakland

    Yes, Warriors + lousy team + sold-out games in Oakland + Warriors ready to leave Oakland = zzzz
    A’s + great team + lousy attendance + A’s ready to leave Oakland = Outrage!
    … Obviously, the bias here is against San Jose.

  11. I don’t know, it looks kind of ugly. It looks like stainless steel soap. I guess the Warriors’ performance has been pretty stinky, so that fits.

  12. If Oakland can turn their economy around again I say they should look for an NBA team to move in Oracle.

  13. Had the W’s announced their plan to move to SF prior to the Chris Mullin night?

  14. I don’t think the Warriors made their plans known before that night, but they had been holding almost all of their major functions in SF. I know a few Warrior fans who were unhappy with that. The writing was on the wall with this ownership.

  15. Eb, I don’t disagree but I always thought the boos were because of the Monta trade (which was not horrible in my opinion, but whatever).
    I don’t think many Warriors fans are that up in arms about the move. I think Doug Boxer pretty much nailed why.
    Anyway, the site design looks cool. Can’t really tell about the actual arena…

  16. Long way to go. More challenges with this project than Howard Terminal.

    • @D Jr – No, likely very similar challenges and costs.

      @letsgoas – The Downtown Oakland practice facility will become a nice community gym. Or a secondary space for the convention center.

  17. @Jeffrey,
    IMHO I don’t think to many A’s fans are up in arms about the potential move to SJ as well. Its just that the traditional media tends to focus on the feeling of the Oakland-only and portray that as the “entire fan base.” And while Boxer might have nailed it, his position is highly hypocritical in supporting SF for the Warriors but not SJ for the A’s. But I digress: at the end of the day does Boxers opinion really matter re the A’s to San Jose…?

  18. I found it interesting that they also included a rough rendering of the condo development across the street that they hope to build. There’s not much to go on, but it shows a podium filling out the space with dual modern towers. I assume they would include additional arena parking capacity under this building. I hope it also includes a retail wall along The Embarcadero. Best of all, something will finally block the hideous podium of the Watermark next door.
    As for the arena itself, I like what I see so far. The materials they use will be key though. Like everyone else, I’m shocked that the capacity is so limited. They aren’t having trouble filling Oracle and I would expect even more demand once they move across the bay. Is it possible that the capacity they’ve quoted doesn’t include luxury boxes? Maybe they are planning a higher percentage of those. Otherwise, it seems like money left on the table.

  19. @Dino J
    I thought so too, anoter pier job is costing 100 mil, but remember this is being paid for by investors wanting to put another great facility in S.F. i agree that Howard Terminal clean up is a lot cheaper. U know of the S.f move does not work, how about the Warriors play at Howard terminal.

    Again Dino my way of thinking Oakland sports is soon about dead and I made peace with it. Our city leaders know this too and I find it sad that nobody cares except for this site.

    R.I.p Oakland sports 1968-2018. Always will remember the memories and what could have been. Go SJ A’s , SF Warriors and maybe LA/ Santa C Raiders

  20. I’m still on the fence about this one. BART, Caltrain and MUNI are viable transit options, but traffic on nights when both the Giants and the W’s play will be pretty nasty.

    The aesthetic of the arena itself is pretty vague. I don’t know how I feel about it. Actually, I feel nothing about it. That’s probably a bad thing.

  21. Giants and W’s would likely have few common days, I don’t think it’s an issue. Also, as we have seen with A’s and W’s, the start times are staggered a little, so that helps.

  22. It looks like the W’s are negotiating for SF to pay for the pier infrastructure upgrades, which is estimated to cost $120M:

    The team in return would build and pay for the arena and other buildings as well as the open spaces. It would be the team’s responsibility to strengthen the dilapidated piers, an endeavor that city officials say would cost an estimated $120 million.
    The proposed deal calls for the city to reimburse the team up to that amount for infrastructure upgrades.

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/Warriors-SF-arena-framework-taking-shape-3951472.php#ixzz29UDVCwua

  23. Difference here and Howard Terminal is the city of SF has revenue streams to reimburse the Warriors for fronting the 120M to redo the Piers.

    In Oakland, the city does not have the same revenue streams from Howard Terminal to embark on such an endeavor.

    Plus environmental cleanup is an animal that is a big unknown at HT.

    This is a great Public-Private partnership SF and the Warriors have. Too bad Oakland could never take note and get creative….They want everything handed to them on a silver platter.

  24. o/t but here’s a tweet regarding the raiders.

    Jason Cole ‏@JasonColeYahoo
    Good convo w/ Oak owner Mark Davis. Wants to give Oak every chance to get new stadium. Dublin in mix. Not eager to play at new 49ers place

    dublin in the mix, i thought that train passed by. i have doubts people inland want a football venue right smack dab in their community.

  25. He has to mention Dublin. He has to get something to compete with Oakland so he can get a more favorable deal. He dismisses Santa Clara, which I think is dumb because it could also be used for leverage, but I bet they eventually commit to two years there while the new place is built on the Coliseum grounds.

  26. Wow can’t wait for the new arena. Warriors will be able to attract the highly best players in.the NBA for the first time in years. Hhhmm maybe jeremey Lin makes a return to the bay of it does not work in h town…or Chris Paul or lebron lol jk… But this move actually is going to be great for the warriors and bay area basketball culture. Also Dublin Raiders not bad. Just that 580 would be a nightmare unless u know the secret streets…..does anybody know if San Jose would be intrested in the Raiders as well as A’s… Would it work?

    • Wow can’t wait for the new arena. Warriors will be able to attract the highly best players in.the NBA for the first time in years. Hhhmm maybe jeremey Lin makes a return to the bay of it does not work in h town…or Chris Paul or lebron lol jk… But this move actually is going to be great for the warriors and bay area basketball culture. Also Dublin Raiders not bad. Just that 580 would be a nightmare unless u know the secret streets…..does anybody know if San Jose would be intrested in the Raiders as well as A’s… Would it work?

      SJ will never publicly finance a stadium, especially a football venue that could exceed $1B. And of course, the Raiders will never privately finance one themselves and put the bill upon the city instead.

  27. A lot of people are complaining about the inconsistency of the fan reactions in terms of the A’s move to SJ and the Warriors move to SF. Yes, the A’s don’t draw well and would draw bigger crowds in SJ. Yes, the Warriors do draw well and are moving to San Francisco to draw smaller crowds paying exorbitant amounts of money for tickets. Here’s the difference: the Warriors are the BAY AREA’s team. I think everybody can agree that in terms of a Bay Area team playing in the most iconic and accessible location, San Francisco is the way to go, especially a half mile from the Bay Bridge.

    The A’s, on the other hand, are representative of the East Bay in a way that the Warriors just aren’t. They’re blue collar, scrappy, play in a dilapidated building, and have a strong and extremely dedicated (yet small) fanbase that won’t go away no matter what. The A’s leaving Oakland represents a shift in the Bay Area pecking order. It’s a slap in the face to the East Bay, a region that as stated above gets no credit for being unique and amazing in its own way, completely independent of San Francisco.

    The East Bay is embodied culturally by the A’s. But the Warriors don’t play for Oakland. They play for the Bay Area, and I don’t think anybody is offended by the Warriors’ departure. I know that as an East Bay resident, I’m not.

    Now on a separate note, what’s with the 17,500 capacity? I’d hoped that we’d build a 22,000 seat arena and draw the NBA’s biggest crowds on a nightly basis. Because after all, if Warriors fans can average 18,500 in the worst part of Oakland, isn’t the sky the limit for the nicest part of San Francisco?

  28. @A’sFan – “and have a strong and extremely dedicated (yet small) fanbase that won’t go away no matter what.”
    Unless, of course, they hate the owner, right? Isn’t that what is claimed? (No, I actually doubt that anyone who says they dislike ownership is not attending games they would have otherwise attended.)

  29. Only thing I can figure with the 17,500 is that smaller is what the NBA is asking for these days. I mean the new Brooklyn arena only holds 17,734 despite being in the largest metro area in the US (and returning a top level pro team to Brooklyn for the first time in over 50 years). I mean Barclay’s Center has an even smaller hockey capacity than you’d expect too due to it’s design (14,500).

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