It's official! The Warriors’ new Mission Bay arena will break ground on Tuesday, January 17th. This is the long-awaited final step in the Warriors moving to San Francisco, with their inaugural season in the Chase Center arena commencing beginning in 2019.
The groundbreaking of the basketball and entertainment venue will occur at 12PM at Third and 16th Streets. In attendance will be Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, President Rick Welts, owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, All-Star forward Kevin Durant, and Mayor Ed Lee. For those unable to attend in person, the groundbreaking will be broadcast live on CSN Bay Area as well as streamed at www.chasecenter.com and www.csnbayarea.com.
A top priority for Mayor Lee, he referred to the 18,500-seat arena as his “legacy project” back when it was first proposed for construction at Piers 30-32 on the Embarcadero south of the Bay Bridge. But that location was discounted because of considerable opposition and the team purchased a parcel of land at Mission Bay intended for a new Salesforce office campus.
The new location didn’t halt the reaction to the arena, and the Mission Bay Alliance was formed to oppose it. The group's members included UCSF researchers, faculty and stakeholders with financial backing primarily from donors to the school. Concerns about traffic restricting access to the nearby UCSF-Mission Bay hospital were among the main issues cited by the Alliance in addition to other groups including the Sierra Club.
For the past twelve months, the arena project had been in litigation, but in late November, a state court of appeals rejected a lawsuit by the opponents, giving the official green light for the Warriors to move ahead.
City officials will implement Muni light-rail cars, increase Caltrain service and add sidewalks and bike lanes, among other measures, to manage the anticipated crowds of people going to the arena for Warriors games as well as other entertainment events.
“Chase Center and the surrounding area will serve as a destination for the entire community, and we will continue to work to make sure it is the best experience possible for everyone to enjoy NBA basketball, concerts, family shows, conventions and more,” said Warriors President Rick Welts.
Mayor Lee was also thrilled with the appeals court's decision, saying, “This new venue will not only ensure our beloved Warriors remain in the Bay Area, but it will fill a void in San Francisco’s portfolio of arts and events facilities. It will provide enormous economic benefits, including thousands of new jobs and millions in new tax revenues for the city.”
Excerpts from SFGate article written by Emily Green.