Not only did the Golden State Warriors win the NBA Championship in 2014, but this season they have set a new league record for the best start to a season, and the new top mark for road wins to begin a season. The Bay Area and even the whole Golden State has never been more captivated with the beginning of a basketball season.
That’s why San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who regards bringing the Golden State Warriors to San Francisco as his “legacy project,” just got one step closer this week. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to support construction of an 18,500 seat $1 billion arena in the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco last week.
The arena’s proposal was first introduced in 2012, and was estimated to cost $300-500 million, but today’s estimates put it closer to $1 billion, due to the addition of the proposed transportation infrastructure designed to aid with traffic flow when the arena comes to fruition. In addition to an arena, the added cost of expanding the T-train and to add four new light-rail vehicles to the fleet is bumping up the total cost, but is abating some of the worries people have expressed about transportation issues in the future. The privately funded project is led by venture capitalist Joe Lacob, and movie executive Peter Guber, who purchased the warriors for $450 million in 2010.
The plan does not have unanimous support across San Francisco though, as there are many groups that oppose the arena and view problems with its construction. The Mission Bay Alliance, which is a group made up of UCSF stakeholders and physicians has vowed to file a lawsuit to block the arena, citing that the already busy area cannot support the number of people that would be drawn to the arena. A new voter poll shows only about 49 percent of those polled support the arena, down from the July poll that showed 61% support.
The arena would undoubtedly have an impact on traffic, which is already an issue at Mission Bay Hospital, where traffic jams could mean lives lost when emergency vehicles are involved. Coupled with the fact that AT&T Park, the stadium of the San Francisco Giants, is less than a mile away, public transit infrastructure will be a key element in the arena’s future success or failure. Construction is set to begin early in 2016, but will likely be delayed due to court hearings and trials.
Working to get a new stadium is common practice when teams achieve sustained success. The San Francisco 49ers notably opened Levi’s Stadium last year after three consecutive trips to the NFC championship game from 2011-2013. When a team is in people’s minds, they also want it to be in their area, so striking while the Warriors are hot seems like the logical choice for San Francisco.
Whether they remain in Oakland or move across the bay, the Warriors will remain a Golden State staple for years to come.