The Golden State Warriors on Monday announced their formal acquisition of a 12-acre waterfront site in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood where they plan to build a 18,000-seat arena as well as two office towers.
The announcement comes just days after the University of California at San Francisco endorsed the sports and entertainment complex at 16th and Third streets, across from the newly completed UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay.
Warriors president and chief operating officer Rick Welts said in a statement Monday: "We love this neighborhood — nobody else is getting this land."
The project had been previously threatened by concerns that a multi-use arena would create too much traffic congestion near the medical center.
But those concerns have been assuaged and a preliminary agreement has been reached with UCSF, creating a special transportation improvement fund for the neighborhood and placing a limit on events at the arena in special circumstances.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, one of the fiercest proponents of the arena, said last week after UCSF announced their endorsement of the proposed arena, "I'm happy to announce that we've reached a consensus on the most critical issues, and now we're ready to move forward -- together."
However, not everyone is convinced that the proposed arena will be good for the neighborhood.
Sam Singer, spokesman for the Mission Bay Alliance, said the agreement could lead to "life-threatening delays for San Francisco."
The Mission Bay Alliance, which represents UCSF stakeholders and concerned citizens in Mission Bay, maintains that the arena violates portions of the California Environmental Quality Act, including severe traffic congestion and compromised emergency access.
An environmental review of the project is expected this fall. The Warriors are hoping to open the new arena in time for the 2018-19 NBA season.
The Warriors franchise formally acquired the 12-acre site from Salesforce, a San Francisco-based cloud computing company that in 2012 suspended development of a mega campus on the site.
Welts did not reveal how much the site was purchased for, but said the proposed investment into the project is expected to be more than $1 billion.
Welts said the Warriors are "the only sports team in America doing this all with private funds, on private land, with no public subsidy." He said the project will generate $40 million for transit improvements and add millions of dollars to city coffers annually.
In addition to the arena and two office towers on the site, the Warriors anticipate the construction of cafes, restaurants, and public plazas.