Opponents of a plan to build a Golden State Warriors arena in Mission Bay have identified an alternative location for the project and are urging city and team leaders to consider the site.
The 21-acre site near Pier 80 in the Bayview has been proposed by the Mission Bay Alliance, a group led by former UC San Francisco officials who argue the arena in Mission Bay will create detrimental traffic congestion and permanently scar the neighborhood.
The suggested site, more than half of which is owned by The City, is 11 blocks south of where the arena is currently planned on about 11 acres of waterfront land at Third and 16th streets, across from UCSF’s new hospitals and research centers.
It marks the first specific alternative site proposed by the Mission Bay Alliance, the primary opposition to the project in Mission Bay. UCSF nurses have also expressed concerns with building an arena adjacent to the new hospitals, but UCSF leaders announced support for the project over the summer, contingent on a plan for managing traffic in the long term.
In the draft environmental report, city planners outlined nearly $40 million in transit improvements slated for Mission Bay that are aimed to curb traffic congestion created in part by the proposed arena. That includes purchasing new Muni light-rail vehicles, allowing crossover tracks for the vehicles to pass on the T-Third Street line, and extending the adjacent Muni platform near the arena.
But the alliance remains vehemently against the arena in Mission Bay and noted numerous “fatal flaws” in building a multi-use facility across from UCSF Medical Center, including noise, air pollution and traffic.
The alliance met with the Warriors on Sept. 22 and Mayor Ed Lee the previous week to share the proposed alternative, said Sam Singer, a spokesman for the alliance.
“They listened politely and with interest to the information we provided them about the alternative location near Pier 80,” Singer said.
However, it appears that Lee still favors the Mission Bay site.
“The mayor is focused on the site that has been discussed with the community for more than a year and he joins many, many others in strong support for an arena in Mission Bay, where it will be a great neighbor and partner to UCSF and a great asset to the community,” Christine Falvey, the mayor’s spokeswoman, wrote in an email to the San Francisco Examiner.
PJ Johnston, a spokesman for the Warriors, declined to comment on any location other than the current site in Mission Bay, but said that spot has been thoroughly vetted.
“The opponents want the Mission Bay property for themselves, but just because they have a lot of money doesn’t mean they can grab the land or highjack the public process,” Johnston wrote in an email to the San Francisco Examiner.
“The Warriors, The City and the community have been engaged in a public planning process for more than a year on the Mission Bay location. San Franciscans are overwhelming supportive of the plan,” he added.
The Mission Bay Alliance plans to formally submit its proposed Bayview site to The City as part of the environmental impact review process, Singer said. The draft EIR was released in June, and a final draft is expected this fall.
“The Warriors were in a rush to find a new site when they realized…The Embarcadero wasn’t going to work out. They grabbed the first piece of property without doing the appropriate due diligence,” said Singer, referring to the previous controversial effort to build the arena at Piers 30-32 before the Warriors purchased the current Mission Bay plot from Salesforce.com.
Singer touted advantages of the site near Pier 80, including additional and less expensive parking. The site borders Interstate Highway 280 and is just off the Third Street Muni lightrail route. There are parcels on the site – mostly warehouses and for industrial uses – that are privately owned, but Singer said the owners contacted by a real estate representative of the alliance have indicated they might be interested in selling their property.