Citizen panel seeks more time to review Warriors arena fiscal plan 

A Board of Supervisors committee will be taking the first major vote on the proposed Warriors waterfront arena, but several local residents handpicked by San Francisco to advise on the project said they will ask for the vote to be delayed to allow them more time to weigh in.

The team proposes to privately finance a 17,500-seat arena and 105,000-square-foot retail complex on the city-owned Piers 30-32. Under city law, the Board of Supervisors must sign off on the project’s fiscal feasibility so environmental reviews can be started and contracts finalized.

Katy Lidell, who chairs the citizens advisory committee, said on Tuesday during a Port Commission meeting that there has not been a full vetting of the fiscal feasibility report.

“We have not had a chance to discuss this fiscal feasibility study,” Lidell said of the advisory committee.

But Jennifer Matz of The City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development said the advisory committee had been presented with the report Oct. 16 and the full report was sent out Oct. 23. Brad Benson of the Port of San Francisco also said that with other projects, a fiscal feasibility report has never been brought before a citizens advisory committee.

Several city officials and members of the Port Commission said there is still time for the public to weigh in on the details of the project through the environmental review process.

“It’s not the end, it’s the beginning,” said commission President Doreen Woo Ho.

The fight about the fiscal report is just one issue that has surfaced in the lead-up to the Board of Supervisors vote.

The Warriors deal states that the team will fund the $120 million in needed infrastructure improvements to the 13-acre pier site just south of the Bay Bridge, but there would be a process through which it would be paid back at a return of 13 percent through three financing tools. Outside experts have called the structure appropriate.

But Rudy Notenberg — a financial adviser and former longtime city administrator — sent a letter to members of the Board of Supervisors saying he never brought a deal to the board at such a high rate of return.

“Quite simply, I would have been ashamed of such a recommendation,” he wrote.

Matz countered on Tuesday that the rate is lower than other deals negotiated for developments in The City, and is fair since the Warriors are the ones backing the risk involved with financing public infrastructure, since there is little inherent value until something else is built.

“What we are talking about is repaying the Warriors largely through the value they create,” Matz said.

mbillings@sfexaminer.com

Money matters

Other major recent projects:

Development Rate of Return
Warriors project 13%
Hunters Point Shipyard 20%
Treasure Island 18.5%
Office, residential and hospitality (general) 12.5%
Sprint Center (Kansas City)* 12-16%
Barclays Center (Brooklyn)* 11%
*Project funding included public money
Sources: S.F. Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Warriors

About The Author

Mike Billings

Mike Billings

Bio:
Mike Billings is the editor in chief of The S.F. Examiner.
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