The Warriors are hopeful a lawsuit filed earlier this month seeking to block the construction of an arena in Mission Bay will be transferred from Sacramento to San Francisco, as the team simultaneously said the lawsuit has prompted the organization to delay its move to The City.
The team had planned to begin the 2018-19 NBA basketball season in its new arena at Third and 16th streets. But team leaders late last week announced the arena will actually open in 2019. PJ Johnston, a spokesman for the Warriors, said Tuesday that a lawsuit filed against San Francisco and the team is the reason for the delay.
“Since we’re a basketball team, we have to think in terms of seasons,” Johnston said. “And the fact is, if we have to fight this thing in court over the course of 2016, we likely will be delayed by a season.”
The Mission Bay Alliance, led by a group of former UC San Francisco officials, filed the lawsuit Jan. 7 in Sacramento Superior Court, asserting city officials violated the California Environmental Quality Act by not addressing potential traffic, air and noise impacts, and failing to properly consider alternative locations for the arena.
The Board of Supervisors last month unanimously rejected an appeal of the environmental impact report for the arena, which will be located across the street from UCSF’s three new hospitals. The board also approved the project in its entirety.
The Warriors have since filed a motion seeking to transfer the lawsuit to San Francisco Superior Court. The lawsuit takes aim at the purported impact of building an arena 1,000 feet from UCSF’s hospitals, specifically that the set-up could lead to a “potentially fatal outcome” that the EIR “shockingly fails to adequately address,” according to a statement from the alliance.
The lawsuit was also filed on behalf of San Francisco resident Jennifer Wade, the mother of a “critically ill” 6-year-old boy who receives medical care from UCSF Children’s Hospital. Wade said she is worried that the arena could jeopardize access to her son’s care.
UCSF, however, endorsed the arena after city officials agreed to millions of dollars in transportation improvements, including the establishment of a Mission Bay Transportation Improvement Fund to pay for more Muni light rail vehicles and traffic officers, among other efforts to mitigate traffic, with revenue from the arena.
The lawsuit is not expected to delay the team from opening its arena for more than a year. State law dictates that the case and any appeals must be resolved within 270 days because Gov. Jerry Brown designated the arena an environmental leadership development project.