Warriors backing away from 2017 SF arena opening date

On June 20 the California Assembly easily passed AB 1273, a bill from San Francisco’s Phil Ting that aimed to speed up the CEQA process by bypassing the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC). That hope faded on the 25th, when a Senate committee refused to take action on the bill, citing the importance of the BCDC and the State Lands Commission. The bill was withdrawn from committee shortly thereafter.

The Snøhetta/AECOM-designed Warriors arena on San Francisco’s Piers 30/32

The BCDC is the first and largest regulatory body that approves any and all development along the bay. The Warriors and SF pols hoped that by not involving the BCDC they’d be able to hit their target opening date of fall 2017. For now the 2017 date looks shaky, as involvement with the BCDC and contingent agencies could add a 1-2 years (or more) to a normal CEQA process.

Tim Kawakami saw the other shoe drop when he interviewed Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob this week.

LACOB: I do know there’s a possibility, certainly, that (the arena) could be delayed. It’s not a probability at this point. The probability is that we achieve our goal.

Not exactly a rallying cry, rather a more tempered response than Lacob has previously exhibited. Lacob has shown no signs of giving up on the project, as he and Peter Guber most certainly see the revenue advantages it would bring even the arena were delayed 1-2 years. Lacob also said that he’d consider Lot A across McCovey Cove/Mission Creek from AT&T Park, but not Pier 50 next door (which would bring up the BCDC threat all over again). Chances are that the W’s would only build on Lot A if they received exclusive development rights, which have already been given to the Giants with plans drawn up. Not that they couldn’t be changed if the right deal were struck. The Giants are refinancing their remaining debt on AT&T Park to help finance the Lot A project, so you have to think it’s already pretty far along in the process for them.

Interestingly, the apparent defeat of AB 1273 marks the fourth instance of large political effort to fast-track a project that has either backfired or failed to help the effort. A letter from the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (among others) made note of previous instances:

  • AB 900 in 2011 was legislation for a Portside San Diego Chargers stadium. Eventually the plan fizzled as no one could figure out how to bridge the funding gap.
  • A fast track bill for Farmers Field was passed in 2012, but became moot as Phil Anschutz wavered when confronted with the high price the NFL was going to make him pay to bring one or two teams downtown.
  • Seattle interests also bumped up against their own working Port to ram through a SoDo Sonics arena.

The first two instances of demise were purely financial as no one could make the deal terms pencil out. Bills or other measures may have helped in the end, we’ll never know. The brief list doesn’t include Carole Migden’s failed attempt to block the 49ers’ move to Santa Clara. Seems like the memo to any teams trying these shenanigans should be to simply let the process work itself out, no matter how painful it is.

In the letter link above is also Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s opposition to the bill, framed in terms of economic impact to Oakland. Quan has also mentioned the BCDC in interviews, but she was smart to not include that argument in the letter. After all, she’s advocating for a ballpark at Howard Terminal, a piece of land that, like Piers 30/32 in SF, is subject to BCDC and SLC review. The BCDC website’s FAQ barely scratches the surface of the regulatory work required to build anything on the Bay (bold are my emphasis):

What types of activity require a permit?

A BCDC permit must be obtained before you do any of the following things within the Commission’s jurisdiction:

Place solid material, build or repair docks, pile-supported or cantilevered structures, dispose of material or moor a vessel for a long period in San Francisco Bay or in certain tributaries that flow into the Bay.

Dredge or extract material from the Bay bottom.

Substantially change the use of any structure or area.

Construct, remodel or repair a structure.

Subdivide property or grade land.

Shouldn’t be a problem for a Howard Terminal ballpark, right? Easy peasy.


In the Kawakami interview, Lacob also referenced the departure of AECOM from the project. According to Lacob, the AECOM had already finished its task of completing design work for the inside of the arena. That means that design work is largely complete, barring CEQA-mandated changes to the project. That should show you how serious the W’s are about getting this thing built.

54 thoughts on “Warriors backing away from 2017 SF arena opening date

  1. Oakland Is getting Howard Terminal ready to show MLB is can house a team. Of Oakland leadership were smart (which I’m nor sure about) they would also be talking up this site to the warriors. If the site is ready, they could potentially build an arena there. The site is large enough for an arena and ballpark.

    I know the warriors want to be in the 415, but it seams like they want a few other things as well:
    1) Being on the waterfront
    2) Being in a downtown location
    3) Being near a MLB team

    If I’m not mistaken, Howard Terminal will potentially offer all of these things. It already offers two of them and the third seems likely from what I’ve seen.

    Oakland, Don Knauss, get your act together and meet with the warriors about this site.

    • @groshawn – The W’s being near a MLB team is mere coincidence. As for Don Knauss, he has to be careful about publicly proclaiming anything about the W’s because, unlike with the A’s, Clorox is a sponsor of the NBA team.

  2. Sorry I made a few typos on here but I really suck at typing on the IPhone lol

  3. Wel well ml. Didnt I call that howard terminal would be better suited for the nba. You could easily (if u do it the right way) sucker Alameda county and others for new taxes to make this thing come true. Howard terminal/clorox arena. Oakland has a chance to save all 3 teams. Say no owners to san jose.

  4. San Jose’ arena, whatever it is being officially called this week, turns 20 years old next month. It has held up well. Warriors would be welcome there. We talk about government bumbling a lot, but SJ’s arena has been a smashing success and was built for what would now be considered a dirt-cheap price – about $165 million.

  5. @groshawn,
    How is Oakland getting HT ready for MLB? Serious question BTW, not trying to stir up crap.
    Curious; if the Giants were only 3-4 years away from paying off AT&T Park why would they then refi the remaining debt for development? The debt for privately financing their yard has been one of the reasons given for holding SJ hostage with TRights. Seems to me if they decide to take on more debt for development that’s the Giants’ problem, not the citizens/pols of San Jose/SCCO.

  6. BTW Groshawn, you forgot number 4 for the Warriors: be in San Francisco and out of Oakland.

  7. @Tony you are funny man

  8. Funny, now we want the Warriors at Howard Terminal too? Maybe you can get Doug Boxer to reverse his position and help them stay rather than leave. 😉 good luck with that

  9. Wow what a game. We beat the red slux and timmy linecum had a no hitter.

    Support coliseum balpark over cisco field.

  10. @Tony D. I respect that you’re not trying to stir things up. Just so you know, I am pro ballpark. Im fine with San Jose or Oakland so I’m not just one of those pro-Oakland people that talks out their Ass. I try to make comments based on fact. So, in answer to your question, Oakland is clearing the site, preparing an EIR on the site which will be done in august and are in talks with MLB about the site. MLB is interested in the Howard Terminal site (at least more than any other site) and Oakland is getting it ready to present to MLB according to knauss and Quan, who I think are decent sources. Does that answer your question?

  11. Tony I did mention the fact that the warriors want to Be in SF. however, SF seams no more likely than Oakland for them.

  12. @growshawn,
    Yeah, you answered my question, thanks…(shaking head in total disbelief)

  13. Groshawn: actually, no one said the EIR for HT has been started yet and the public process for such a document is long and begins early so I think we’d have heard of it by now if it were that close to being done. They are documents that take months, if not more than a year, to write and involve several hearings. Now, if you mean August 2014 then you might be correct.

  14. Wow we just got site contral, of HT its a big step and much more then Oakland has done in the past, which seems like nothing, we dont even know if we can build on it, or the cost to build on it, again its a step a big step in the case of Oakland but we are not even at 1st base, there is 100 other steps, as you all know I would like it in Oakland, but Iam ok with SJ, Iam not ok with Portland San Anton or Mexico City. I know you have to make 1 step befor you can make 100, so its big because Oakland did not seem to be making any, but please MLB did not approve anything, Wolf did not say he loved the site, money did not fall from the sky to build or clean up the site, SJ did not drop their court efforts, the players union did not demand it be built at HT, 1 step, hopefuly the first, BUT ONLY 1.

  15. Sad to hear about the travon martin case…its crazy that it happened in our own backyard years before with grant…looks like I gotta teach my kids self defense…I pray for the families….

  16. Pretty sure quan said it would be done shortly after the coliseum EIR.

    • @groshawn – Quan said in the Townsend interview that the Port was working on it. The Port clearly is not working on it right now.

  17. Groshawn: so easily next year. The Coliseum EIR is not close yet. The Draft EIR is, according to the city, due out in the fall. After the draft, the city will then answer any and all questions and issues raised and do any further work to tighten up the EIR and then they’ll release the Final EIR. That’ll lead to another hearing to make a decision. If the draft for Coliseum City happens this fall, the Final is probably in the Winter or Spring (depending on the number of issues raised). Any EIR for HT will not be done until sometime next year, maybe August 2014. EIRs are expensive and the city isn’t exactly flush so the council will have to decide if they want to spend money on two EIRs.

  18. nonetheless. even if what you guys say is true (which im sure it is), you cant deny that oakland is getting HT ready

  19. I love Josh Donaldson 🙂 .

  20. Groshawn: never denied it. Just pointing out that Oakland is at the beginning of a long and uncertain process with HT, not the middle, not the end. At least it’s a start though.

  21. @groshawn,
    Unfortunately (based on reality) you CAN deny that Oakland is getting HT ready. To suggest otherwise is to have ones head in the sand. Go Donaldson, Go A’s and Go San Jose baby!!!

  22. what does an EIR actually *do*? So if it comes out and says it will murder every fish and bird in the port, can the process still go forward? Or is the EIR a legal document that forbids building after a certain point?

  23. An EIR identifies impacts of the project on the environment and proposes mitigations. Even if the EIR says something can’t be remedied the city could go ahead anyhow.

  24. @Tony d

    Dont kill my vibe

  25. So what are the Warrior’s plan B if their arena in SF get’s delayed to death?

  26. @Mike2
    Plan b is Mission Bay (right next to Giants)
    Plan c is maybe become part of Coliseum City
    Plan d is wlhoward terminal arena if the A’s dont want in on HT.

    To me I always felt that thw Warriors were a Oaklane team. If Oakland gets another chance…. I hope mayor quan can convince lacob that colsieum city is better for the warriors long term. Besides Stephen Curry ( loves and is a strong advocate of Oakland)…likes coliseum city. Dont let the frisco media fool u

  27. The rendering of the pier 30-32 arena ML included above really shows how much the the building & platform intrude on the waterline. If the BCDC and State Land Commission have issue with the design aspects, it’s a very good thing that progress is delayed.

  28. It does seem a little out there , like the silverdome on the pier. I do think if the pier deal is delayed too long, they could comeback to Oakland. My thing is that I wonder how much compensation would the SF Giants need from rent and parking revenue if the GS Warriors moved closer to them by mission bay. Its not a bad idea but not ideal.

  29. Monte Poole was talking up Howard Terminal yesterday, in the same manner that Oakland-only columnists once talked up the fizzled Victory Court site. He also used the “A’s are winning and therefore can succeed in Oakland” argument, the counter of which is, “The A’s are losing and it’s because the owner wants to lose to suppress attendance in Oakland.” Heads, Oakland-only wins, tails, Wolff loses. All the power to these people if they can make Howard Terminal work. But we’ll need details about who pays for the massive environmental and railroad obstruction remediations, who pays for the infrastructure, etc. Something more than just “John Fisher is rich” and should be willing to go broke paying for all of this himself. What happens if $100 million is spent digging up Howard Terminal and they find the site just won’t work? Oops.

  30. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Victory Court went off the table when redevelopment dollars vanished. I’d like to hear some sort of explaination of why Howard Terminal is a target site now but not Victory Court.

  31. @pjk
    Monte polle is cool. I just feel he should be talilking up coliseum city for the A’s.. but he ie right.winning A’s team can get the oakland only crowd to support tax dollars for a new ballpark. Kiss san jose goodbye pjk

  32. standfor: Maybe I skimmed the article too fast. Where does Poole propose Oakland taxpayer dollars be used to pay for the ballpark?

  33. It was my suggestion. I feel that Oakland loves the warriors as much as raiders and would bend over backwards for them. How is ur day pjk. Seems like u have ur george zimmerman shirt on today. ….

  34. I have no idea what you’re talking about re: George Zimmerman. FWIW, as somebody who often parks his car right on what would probably be third base at the downtown San Jose ballpark if it is ever built (It’s used as Caltrain parking now), I am sure the Howard Terminal site would be more scenic and have a better ambiance than the San Jose site. But the San Jose site does not carry with it all the deal-killing baggage of Howard Terminal, either. If San Jose fails in its efforts to get the A’s and Oakland simply can’t provide a new ballpark site or funding, what happens then? San Antonio A’s, probably. ML asked this a couple weeks ago: if MLB tells Oakland a new ballpark is not viable without public finding (which we all know Oakland can’t/won’t provide), then what?

  35. @Briggs, Victory Court was going to cost (is going to cost?) somewhere between $200-250M in predevelopment costs. That’s really what sank the site and it predated the collapse of Redev, that just became a scape goat for Oakland folks. The same analysis (which I have never seen, so I am passing along second hand info) put the number for Howard Terminal at $49M, though I am not sure what that is accounting for, exactly.

  36. I was just messin wit u about zimmerman… But if mlb does say Oakland has a chance to keein its team with public funding for a new stadium. Then we would say we have don knauss as our “funding contribution”, there is also I heard a small fund from last years SOS parade that can be used to.

    To be honest with the Raiders and Warriors having no where to go…at least now…Oakland looks like we will be keeping our teams for a while longer. Coliseum city is waiting wolff, lacob and davis …maybe even san jose sharks. Oakland sharks

  37. @Pjk: If the San Jose option dies, there will be private.coprorate innvestment interest in an Oakland ballpark. However, will it be enough? That’s the part we don’t know. Then of course, there’s the infrastructure upgrades requires that further complicates things.

    The ball will then be in MLB’s court. They’ll have to decided whether or not if any of the usual suspects (San Antonio, Portland, Charlotte, etc.) is a better option than Oakland. If MLB decides Oakland is still better than an alternate city, MLB will will figure out a way to make it happen.

    @Aaron: You owe it to yourself, your kids and well society to seek out some continuing education. WHile our tax dollars are going towards Coliseum City EIRs, they’re also going towards public schools and community colleges. Utilize them. Please.

  38. Briggs: If one of those cities ponies up a publicly funded venue, look for MLB to move the A’s there, in the same manner that the NFL and NBA have been amenable to moving teams from big markets to small markets if the bigger market refuses to provide a new publicly funded facility. For reference, see: Oilers leave Houston for Nashville, Sonics leave Seattle for Oklahoma City. MLB is not going to pay for an Oakland ballpark and Oakland wouldn’t be able to budget for any payments on any MLB ballpark loan.

  39. Did we just have an earthquake a few seconds ago? Those things drive up the costs of ballparks in the Bay Area, of course.

  40. @pjk
    I would totally agree with your point, but MLB needs population for each of their franchises, the NBA, and NFL have salary caps, and a hard form of revenue sharing, so they can operate in smaller markets. If the NFL was economically set up like MLB, no way would you have teams in Green Bay, Buffalo or New Orleans those markets are too small. The NBA did a good job of finding secondary markets many years ago, like Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, Utah, and Sacramento, these are markets that the NFL was not thinking of, at the time the NBA moved in to them, and MLB still would not even consider them until years later, and most of them not even today. The Oklahoma City thing could not work, because of strict revenue sharing and the hard salary caps in the other sports, you also don’t have the population in place, for a MLB team, the population needed for an NBA franchise is much less than what you need for 81 home games, at 35-38,000 a game. The A’s may leave the Bay but it will not be for a smaller market in less MLB changes its revenue structure, that’s not going to happen since the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs, Angels, Mets and the almighty Giants are already mad they have to pay for the small market clubs, with the little form of revenue sharing, that they do have the players union would have to agree to a salary cap, not going to happen, if and when the A’s move your talking bigger markets, and that is part of the problem MLB, has painted themselves in a corner with this A’s issue there simply are not markets big enough left in the sates, maybe San Antonio, or Portland in 15-20 more years. MLB could go back to Montreal, or Mexico City which would get sellouts every game, but then you have other things to deal with if you make that choice…

  41. Lakeshore, yes and no. If they leave, it would be to a smaller market. But that would be to one that would have a higher overall share of their market. Right now, the A’s have a very poor overall market share on entertainment dollars. I doubt right now there’s a legitimate (open) market ready to take on the A’s, but that doesn’t mean in another 5 – 10 one that’s on the brink wouldn’t be. And let’s face it, even one on the brink (like San Antonio) that’s willing to shell out a lot to build a stadium would be preferable than a weak market share with no public money like the A’s are in. Also keep in mind, it’s the overall market size that would prevent the A’s from getting revenue sharing the bay area, in a smaller market that wouldn’t be the case.

  42. @dmoas
    Yes, and No? I agree with you 100%, I said Portland or San Antonio in 15-20 years, although I am not sure how San Antonio would work, because the Rangers, and Astros would scream about that being too close to them. BTW if either, where ready to go in say 10-15 years, that would have given Oakland a total of what about 25 years to get something done, at the end of the day MLB is not simply giving up on Oakland, which is probably easy enough to do, but its giving SJ to the Giants, I say the South Bay & the East Bay fans that would come to SJ 85-90% is with a hell of a lot more than any other untapped market left in the stats, but will MLB let that happen.

  43. @Briggs
    If i can make it outta Oakland public school system… so can kids today….
    Just because im asking for tax dollars to pay for a stadium like every other city that had to pay up doesnt mean im ignoring “the kids” or the “police” or over paid city employees. Oakland can pay for a stadium just like they did in Chicago, Miami and other places around the U.S with the same school problems… i think its a weak arguement… so if it seems you and other proud alameda/county dont want their tax dollars on a new stadium… why the hell are we here talking about the A’s in san jose or oakland… oakland might as well contribute something even if it 10mil… its 10mil more than what san jose is offering.. besides havin the owner with a boner for san jose…

  44. @pjk and briggs

    I made it out of Oakland and Berkeley public schools so can today youth. also just becsuse i ask for tax dollars to provide funding for a newballpark does mot mean i dont care about schools, police etc.. Its funny the more problems other places seem to have makes Coliseum city look real good. I think even the Oakland crowd knows that our “stall and build the stadium” technique is working”

  45. @dmoas
    Sorry, I guess I should have said they may go to a smaller market (then Oakland East Bay), but none of those options inside the U.S. is large enough yet, and could use 15-20 years of population growth, before they are ready. BTW, your point about owning a small percentage of market share is well taken, but it’s up to the A’s to capture a larger market share , and we know the Giants have done a much better job of marketing over the last 20-25 years then we have. The Bay Area is large enough for the A’s to fight for a larger share. I know Sothern California is much larger, but the Angles found themselves in the same situation, with the Dodgers, and they own a much larger market share of entertainment dollars, then they did at one time. One could even argue that Wolf could and should do a better job of gaining market share, if it was not in his best interest to have lower percentage of market share in an effort to gain S.J., hell the Giants do a better job marketing in the East Bay then the A’s do.

  46. Speaking of the Giants marketing in the East Bay, a buddy just texted me today saying he met with Andy Dolich, former A’s marketing consultant during the Haas years. My buddy is a course designer who’s developing a sports admininstration course(s). The Giants strength with East Bay residents is as much the A’s fault as it is the Giants’ success. Aside from some quirky commericials, the A’s have been treading water since the mid-90s in terms of improving their brand image.

  47. MLB lost its chance to decide the A’s fate once San Jose sued in court. MLB has shown themselves to complicit and anti-competitive locking the A’s out of San Jose based on their “illegal cartel” like rules.

    4+ years passed for at least a recommendation. Now the courts will decide the A’s fate. San Jose will win and get the A’s, it is just sad they did not sue years ago but it had to be clearly shown the A’s failed in the East Bay to show MLB was being anti-competitive.

    As for the Warriors, this SF project is extremely complex and I am bit skeptical after reading ML’s analysis above than I was before. In reality the Giants site is far better and needs far less when it comes to infrastructure cost.

    As we all know the Giants are “greedy” and the Warriors preferred to try on Pier 30/32 when they knew it would be far more complex and expensive…..Tells you something distinct about the Giants.

    If the Warriors were going to partner it makes sense for them to do it with the Sharks so that they can split costs and usage of the arena. If SF fails I believe Lacob will turn his attention to San Jose and a massive renovation of SAP Center.

    The Sharks can play in Oakland for 1 year as the Warriors did in San Jose in 1996-1997. Oracle Arena can hold 17,200 for hockey. In San Jose, you can dig deeper into the ground and make the arena larger, add suites, expand the club section, and improve sight lines for basketball.

    You cannot do that in Oakland because you will hit water as Raiders did with the Coliseum trying to expand seating to fit 70,000 for a possible super bowl.

    It would be far cheaper and easier to execute as both teams would split costs versus building on Pier 30/32 and dealing with all the infrastructure issues.

    Or if the San Jose lawsuit fails by some miracle they could use that same land to build a brand new arena for both teams. The Warriors are easier to relocate in the region because they are the only NBA team in the market and it is a far more popular sport than hockey.

    I do not believe the Sharks would thrive in Oakland, they would lose their entire fan base because of the Bay Area being a non-traditional hockey market.

  48. @Lakeshore, Rangers & Astros can balk all they want but they don’t have SF kind of control over it. While I don’t think they’d give up on either place in the bay area right now, I also don’t think they’d ever advertise they are either. They may have already done so for all we will ever know.

    As for the market for entertainment dollars, I think there’s a fairly finite amount for baseball on the whole. If split evenly, there’s enough for two competitive teams, unfortunately a strong majority is held by the Giants and no amount of advertising is likely to do much about that. Certainly not in the short run. It’s a part of why the A’s need to move further away, not closer, to the the Giants regardless of where specifically in the bay area they go.

  49. The sharks are a rough and rugged team fits the Oaklans image, like warriors and raiders. If msrketed right and in a more central location Oakland sharks can be very successful.

  50. @dmaos good points, the A’s situation has a lot of moving parts, and I fill like there is blame to go around if they leave the Bay Area, weather it’s the Oakland pols. current mayer and the past two mostly Brown. MLB and its comish (Oakland was a mistake), as well as tableing a vote on ownership that was comited to Oakland, A’s last two ownership groups/Wolf being so set on SJ that he may not be willing to take a fresh look at Oakland, it would be nice if Oakland would willing to help SJ if it came down to that being the only hpoe for them to stay in the Bay Area (SF and Santa Clera), and most of all the SF Giants

  51. @sfcc Aaron – You don’t follow hockey much, do you? The Sharks are not a “rough and rugged” team. They are consistently in the lower half of penalty minutes.

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