This being San Francisco, an ambitious bid by the Warriors to install an NBA arena on The City’s waterfront by 2017 will need solid community support to go smoothly. And the community, it seems, is bouncing on the rim.
An online poll circulated last week by the South Beach/Rincon/Mission Bay Neighborhood Association asked its members to weigh in on their fears and hopes about the facility, slated for the prime location of Piers 30 and 32, set between the Giants’ AT&T Park and the Bay Bridge.
The questionnaire asked about possible pitfalls and classic worries for any neighborhood facing development — traffic, undesirables, parking, public transit overload, blocked views — along with some likely benefits such as new business, the excitement of having an NBA team nearby and badly needed repairs for the aging piers.
As of Friday afternoon, 100 people had already responded to the survey, which had only been out for six hours.
“So far it’s pretty well divided,” said Michael Anthony, a board member for the neighborhood association. “I hesitate to draw any conclusions at this point. Kind of as we suspected, there is going to be diversity of opinion.”
Three members of the neighborhood group’s board also serve on the recently formed Community Advisory Committee for the stadium project.
Mayor Ed Lee, who has called the arena his legacy project, has said the facility should rely solely on private financing. In May, Lee helped announce the NBA franchise’s plans to return to San Francisco from Oakland amid other recent fanfare 50 miles south in Santa Clara, where the 49ers broke ground on a new stadium well outside the team’s namesake city.
The waterfront location was also recently pursued by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who had planned to finance nearly $100 million in long-sought repairs to the piers for the America’s Cup sailing regatta. In exchange, the Port of San Francisco would have provided Ellison with 66-year waterfront lease rights for retail and housing developments, but the deal crumbled when costs for repairs were significantly higher than expected and The City and the Port were sued over the project.