A San Francisco Superior Court judge Monday ruled against a group seeking to block a proposed Golden State Warriors arena project in the Mission Bay neighborhood, clearing the way for the project to proceed, according to city officials.
The ruling by Judge Garrett Wong rejected without comment lawsuits filed in December and January by the Mission Bay Alliance challenging the city's environmental review and approval process for the event center and mixed-use development at 16th and Third streets.
"What the court got was that the environmental review was not rammed through City Hall," Warriors spokesman P.J. Johnston said.
In particular, the Mission Bay Alliance, which says it is made up of UC San Francisco donors, stakeholders, physicians and faculty members, argued that the 11-acre project would create major traffic and emergency access issues for the nearby UCSF Medical Center, especially on game days.
"We always knew this would be headed to the appellate courts," Osha Mersrve, a Mission Bay Alliance attorney. "There, we’ll have a three-judge panel to hear our arguments to protect Mission Bay from this bad project."
The lawsuit was joined by the group Save Muni and Jennifer Wade, the mother of a UCSF patient concerned about emergency access for her son.
The Board of Supervisors in December unanimously approved the project, which will include an 18,000-seat event center and 600,000 square feet of office space, in December. The project was also certified as an Environmental Leadership Project by Gov. Jerry Brown, indicating it met economic stimulus and environmental building standards.
"The fact is that this worthwhile project has been thoroughly scrutinized under the law, and it has won overwhelming support every step of the way, from all parts of San Francisco-- including its neighbors," City Attorney Dennis Herrera said.
Mayor Ed Lee said the ruling validated the city's environmental review process.
"The Warriors are inspiring a new generation of fans throughout the Bay Area, and I can't wait to welcome them back home to San Francisco," Lee said.
Litigation by the Mission Bay Alliance prompted the Warriors to announce earlier this year that the planned opening date of the arena was being delayed from 2018 to 2019.
Team president and chief operating officer Rick Welts Monday said the team looked forward to breaking ground soon.
"This decision brings us a huge step closer to building a new state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue, which will add needed vitality to the Mission Bay neighborhood and serve the entire Bay Area extremely well," Welts said in a statement.
The alliance also filed a lawsuit in December in Alameda County Superior Court alleging that UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood did not have the legal authority to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Warriors agreeing to traffic mitigations for the project. That lawsuit is still being litigated.
"A lot of public investment has gone into Mission Bay, and to put a stadium there is just bad planning," Merserve said.
"There’s already a lot of lab space, but the people who work there need coffee shops, restaurants and other things," Johnston said. "And they need nightlife."
The Warriors announced in January that the arena will be known as the Chase Center, after financial services firm JPMorgan Chase paid for naming rights for 20 years.