Let us now praise the owners of the Golden State Warriors. They are planning to build a $1 billion arena at their own expense. Imagine that – businessmen who are willing to assume the financial risk for their own ambitious enterprise instead of twisting arms for a public handout.
The owners have also given up their grandiose plan to build an arena on prime waterfront property just south of the Bay Bridge in favor of a grittier waterfront site.
In developments over the weekend, the Warriors’ owners announced they had abandoned their plan to build an arena on Piers 30-32 near the Embarcadero and instead have purchased a12-acre site in Mission Bay for their 18,000-seat arena.
“The Warriors will own the site outright, rather than leasing it from the Port of San Francisco, and the team says the arena will be entirely privately financed —a rare instance of a modern sports venue that would use no taxpayer funds or public land,” reported SFGate, the San Francisco Chronicle’s online site.
The shift in location involves fewer regulatory hurdles for the Warriors, the story said, and eliminates any need for voter approval, which may have become necessary for the original Pier 30-32 venue.
The change has assuaged some of the project’s most vocal critics, who opposed building a 125-foot-high arena near the Embarcadero amid concerns about traffic, environmental harm during construction and blocked views of the Bay Bridge.
Neil deMause, co-author of “Field of Schemes,” a book that reveals the myriad manipulations in the arena-building game, said on his blog site today: “This may actually be the rare case of a new sports facility that’s a win-win for both the team owners and the city.”
Meanwhile in Sacramento, city officials and the risk-averse owners of the Kings are hammering out details of a $477 million arena deal that will put the city on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars, tear up downtown Sacramento for a couple of years, and create traffic nightmares on game nights.
Do these folks care about the concerns of local residents, who will bear the brunt of their ambitious, financially risky scheme? They don’t, which they proved by sidestepping a vote on subsidizing a new arena and insisting on a hemmed-in downtown site for their “world-class” arena.
It’s refreshing to see the Warriors’ owners put their money where their ambition is and show some respect for local residents. Maybe a bit of their “world-class” style will rub off on Sacramento’s schemers and pipe dreamers. And maybe the owners of the Kings can pick up a few tips on how to get a team into the NBA playoffs. Go Warriors!