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November 7, 2013

On The Waterfront: Group Vows To Fight New Warriors’ Arena, But SF Mayor Is Ready For Battle

by Jared

Perhaps you’ve seen these renderings before: we posted about it earlier when the project was proposed for a new NBA arena on the San Francisco waterfront, on piers 31-33. (The Golden State Warriors will become the San Francisco Warriors in 2017).

SF mayor Ed Lee is calling this his “legacy project”, and it indeed looks pretty grand and picturesque: could it become the best-looking arena in the NBA?

Not if a group of prominent San Franciscans have anything to say about it.

Former SF mayor Art Agnos is leading a group that wants to put the brakes on any luxury or sports development on the waterfront, pushing instead for affordable housing and condos for teachers, musicians and artists to be built in that area. It’s the age-old battle between ant-gentrification forces and big-plan builders, which takes on extra meaning in San Francisco, where Bohemianism has always been a powerful force. The arena, the Agnos group says, could be moved to Candlestick Point, set on the spot where Candlestick Park is due to soon be demolished.

Or, stick the arena on Fourth and Townsend streets, near the current spot of AT&T Park.

In other words: sports? Thbbbffftttt!

San Franciscans just emphatically voted down a pair of measures that would have allowed luxury condos to be built a few blocks down the waterfront from the proposed Warriors’ arena spot. Agnos and his group led the effort to defeat those measures, so now they’re feeling pretty powerful.

But the best part of this argument are the sports cliches. Let ‘em roll:

Lee acknowledged that the arena is “no slam dunk, but maybe more like consistent three-pointers.”

“Art Agnos just won a game of pingpong, and now he thinks he’s a Wimbledon champion,” said Nathan Ballard, spokesman for the Warriors project.

The former mayor called the arena plan “a Trojan horse” for the luxury condominiums, shopping areas and high-end hotel that are expected to be part of the Warriors project.

OK, that last one was an ancient Greek cliche.

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