The architects are in place, the city supervisors are on board, and the majority of Bay Area residents’ surveyed have approved the Golden State Warriors proposed departure from their half-century dwelling in Oakland’s Oracle Arena to a revolutionary new facility being planned for Pier’s 30-32 in San Francisco’s Embarcadero District.
So, what does this exciting news mean for Oakland and San Francisco?
Well, first it means that Oakland will lose a vital sports presence and a major source of revenue, and that’s not good for Oakland. In San Francisco, however, it could create significant revenue for the whole region, including new jobs, tourism and increased traffic at local businesses. Still, there are two key issues of particular concern:
Parking could be a significant logistical issue, as regulations require 630 parking spaces for the proposed complex, while there are nearly 10,000 spaces at the Coliseum Complex in Oakland. Oracle Arena seats 19,596 fans, so if even a comparably sized facility opens in SF, there could be issues there. There is a lot off on street parking nearby the Embarcadero, but it might be helpful if the Warrior’s purchased nearby real estate for additional parking.
Further, it would take a bevy of events to make the Warriors possible future home pay for itself, but planners say concerts and other events would make up the difference. Hopefully the “City” will find practical ways to promote and facilitate greater use of public transportation, as year-round use of the arena would definitely increase traffic issues.
Other plans include removing 8,000 square feet of the pier as part of the design and adding maritime uses including a ferry landing, a water taxi landing, and a San Francisco Fire Department boat station (Mike Billings, The Examiner). These would be logistical upsides.
Oracle Arena was completely renovated in ’96, and it’s been a great place to watch basketball, but the Warriors are moving to back to San Francisco, probably by 2017. The new sports facility by the Bay Bridge could help with revitalizing the local economy, and the Warriors would finance the venture privately. Let’s hope Oakland can weather the loss, and that the new arena, which looks visually stunning, has ample parking and creates a lot of revenue and enjoyment for Californians. With sound planning, it could be a great success!