Following several recent meetings between team leaders and city officials, the Warriors may be hoping to come back to San Francisco to play in a new waterfront arena.
The City has proposed a site for a new arena at Piers 30-32 just south of the Bay Bridge, as well as two other sites farther south. An unnamed source told ESPN on Sunday that the team wants to make the move, although team spokesman Raymond Ridder said Monday, “We’re not prepared to make any announcements at this time.”
Negotiations between the team and The City have been going since December. Last week, the team’s owners visited Mayor Ed Lee after Lee met with the team in Oakland the previous week and delivered The City’s official proposal letter to have the Warriors build a new arena on the waterfront in time for the 2017-18 NBA season, after the team’s lease at the Oracle Arena runs out. The letter was signed by all 11 San Francisco supervisors.
But wishing to move to San Francisco and actually constructing a new waterfront arena are two very different things. After all, The City is insisting the facility would have to be privately financed.
“Our approach has been that we cannot … use taxpayers’ money,” Lee said Monday. “And we made that very clear. But then again, I’ve been building this city up to be investor-friendly, investor-confident and hopefully that’ll signal to them.”
Lee said his office had made its best case to the team and was now waiting for a decision.
“I’m excited, because we put the best foot forward, and I really think that our city has got that whole pedigree of success that we would like to share with them,” Lee said.
Oakland officials said Monday that Mayor Jean Quan’s effort to keep the team at a proposed Coliseum City complex remains in play.
“We are still in direct dialogue with the Warriors about the opportunity to build a new arena,” Oakland Assistant City Administrator Fred Blackwell said in a statement. “We have always been aware that they are exploring all their options, including a San Francisco site.”
While a new arena would surely be a boon to neighborhood businesses, residents also may need convincing.
A recent blog of the Rincon Hill Neighborhood Association said the move would be exciting for San Francisco fans of the team, but worried about increases in traffic and lamented the fact that South of Market residents haven’t been involved in the discussion.
“The devil is in the details … however, when the community hasn’t really been consulted at all from the outset, things won’t likely go well at first,” wrote blog editor Jamie Whitaker.