Put the Warriors Arena atop CalTrain

By Bill Nichols

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OPINION Numerous problems with the proposed location of a new Warriors stadium and surrounding complex are obvious. What we need is a better solution, not just laments about the folly of it all. Is there a better solution for everyone?

We can take a page from Warriors co-owner Peter Guber's book, "Tell To Win." He explains how a business proposal lives or dies in terms of the story it embodies. The story trumps piles of statistics or litanies of problems. This is what tries men's souls and glazes eyes. But there is an alternative story to tell in this case, one that is win-win for everyone.

Let's create a great sports complex at the heart of our public transportation system. We don't need to clog the waterfront when we can build a great sports mecca elsewhere. Let's take a cue from New York City and how Madison Square Garden perches directly above Penn Station.

Right now CalTrain has an ideally located terminus in the core of the city, but it's unsightly. Why not put the new stadium directly above the CalTrain station? The same solution is being applied right now to the new Time Warner headquarters at Hudson Yards on the west side in New York: several skyscrapers will rise on platforms above an existing rail yard.

Consider the advantages: CalTrain passengers can walk upstairs to see a game! Muni and BART riders can take a short walk to the stadium. Soon they'll be able to ride the Central Subway to it as well. It's the perfect place for a major indoor arena that could host diverse events.

AT&T Park is just a block away and already lends enormous appeal to this entire area. The train yard extends from 4th to 7th St and the space above this great expanse could house a sizeable parking garage, less than a block from the 280 access ramp, as well as a hotel, restaurants, condos, offices and perhaps a shopping complex.

It's everything Peter Guber and his partners dream of, that the city needs, and that we can embrace, now that it's in the right place.

Let's welcome the Warriors by all means. But do we want a Titanic on the waterfront when we can have a jewel above the CalTrain station that will simultaneously overcome the gulf that now exists between the western part of SOMA and Mission Bay?

This location could establish a sports complex the rival of any in the country. An essential, but dreary space turns into a great sports oasis, like Cinderella at midnight but in reverse. Perhaps the city will even want to include a large, well-equipped community recreation center for all of us who like to play as well as watch.

Bill Nichols is a consultant for documentary filmmakers and has published a dozen books related to the cinema. He lives in San Francisco.