Aggressive Warriors - Page 3

Waterfront basketball and concert arena moving quickly despite neighborhood concerns

A huge new basketball and concert arena, along with a hotel and commercial complex, is being proposed for Piers 30-32.

Matz told us the rate was based on the risky nature of rebuilding the piers, for which the Warriors are responsible for any cost overruns. And she compared the project to the massive redevelopment projects now underway on Treasure Island and Hunters Point, from which the city is guaranteeing powerful developer Lennar returns on investment of 18.5 percent and 20 percent respectively.

Johnston, who was press secretary to former Mayor Willie Brown and worked with Nothenberg on building AT&T Park and other projects, told us "I have great respect for Rudy." But then he went on to criticize him for taking a self-interested stand to defend the views from the condo he owns nearby: "They don't want anything built in their neighborhood. They would rather leave it a dilapidated parking lot."

But Nothenberg told us his stand is consistent with the work he did throughout his public service career in trying to keep the waterfront open and accessible to the public, rather than blocking those views with a 14-story stadium and hotel complex.

"I have a self-interest as a San Franciscan, and after 20 years of doing the right thing, I don't want to see this rushed through in an arrogant way that would have been unthinkable even a year ago," Nothenberg told us. "I spent 20 years of my life trying to deal with waterfront issues."

He is being joined in his opposition by other neighborhood residents, land use experts such as attorney Sue Hestor, some opponents of the 8 Washington project concerned with the creeping rollback of waterfront development standards, and members of the Citizens Advisory Committee who have felt steamrolled by the rapid process so far and unable to thoroughly discuss the project or the neighborhood's concerns.

"We would like to slow this process down," committee Chair Katy Liddell told supervisors on Nov. 14. "Things are going so quickly."



The $120 million plus interest that the city will owe the Warriors would be offset by the $30 million the team would pay for Seawall Lot 330 (the property across from the piers where the hotel would be built), a one-time payment of $53.8 million (mostly in development impact fees), annual rent of nearly $2 million on its 66-year lease of Piers 30-32, and annual tax and mitigation payments to the city of between $9.8 million and $19 million.

Kim raised concerns at the Budget Committee hearing about the more than 200 events a year that the arena will host, but she was told by Matz that's necessary to make the project pencil out for the Warriors.

Many of the project's financial and administrative details are still being worked out as part of a term sheet going to the Board of Supervisors for approval, probably in April. Other details will be studied in the project Environmental Impact Report, which is expected to come back to the board in the fall.

The Department of Public Works, Police Department, and — perhaps most critically given its impact on Muni and roadways — Municipal Transportation Agency have yet to estimate their costs.

"We do have a lot of concerns in the neighborhood about this project," Kim told the Land Use Committee, singling out impacts to the transportation system as perhaps the most important, followed by quality-of-life issues associated with huge crowds of sports fans.