Warriors, Mayor Ed Lee ink labor deal for arena project

Courtesy RenderingHomegrown: The Warriors agreed to hire city residents for a portion of the jobs at its planned arena.

The Warriors continue to drive to the basket at City Hall regarding a proposed new waterfront basketball arena in San Francisco. The NBA team’s plans were the topic du jour Monday, a day before the fiscal terms of the $1 billion facility are expected to be approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Mayor Ed Lee gathered team and labor officials in his office Monday morning to sign a jobs agreement in which the Warriors promised to “provide a fair process for workers to choose union representation at the food service and hospitality outlets” associated with the new venue. The team is being hailed as the first private developer to voluntarily agree to the terms of The City’s local-hire ordinance, which requires a portion of the new jobs created under city contracts to be filled by San Francisco residents.

The Mayor’s Office estimates that the new arena — set to be built in time for the 2017 season at Piers 30-32 just south of the Bay Bridge — will create about 2,600 construction jobs and 1,750 permanent jobs.

Mike Casey, the president of UNITE HERE Local 2, which represents food service and hotel employees, praised the team for Monday’s agreement, along with an additional pledge to transfer the jobs of current food service employees in Oakland’s Oracle Arena to San Francisco.

Later Monday, a Board of Supervisors committee hearing on the new arena focused on aesthetics of the new site.

Warriors representatives presented the logic behind giving the arena a diagonal orientation, calling it the best positioning to preserve views of the Bay. They also highlighted plans for each side of the pier, designed to fit in with the adjacent landscape. The south end, for example, could feature more green space and water access for small boats to complement The City’s pending Brannan Street Wharf park project.

But ideas were presented as rough sketches, with nothing finalized until the team completes the complex state-required environmental impact report as the project’s guiding document regarding noise, traffic impacts, additional burdens on public transit and other issues.

During the committee’s public comment period, skeptical neighborhood residents repeatedly said the process was moving “too fast,” especially during the holiday season. Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district would include the new arena, praised the team’s outreach to neighbors but said there are still plenty of unresolved issues that have been brought up by her constituents.

Kim added that the arena could be a “wonderful project,” but that depends largely on whether the team and residents can strike accord on tough issues in an increasingly crowded area.

“Given the site, it could also be a disaster,” Kim said.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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