8 Washington and the Warriors

Wait, the architects forgot to draw in the highrise tower

I won't be a bit surprised if the Warriors start putting money behind Simon Snellgrove's efforts to win ballot approval for his 8 Washington condo project. And it won't be just because of general developer solidarity. And I don't think the basketball team owners are counting on a lot of fans living just down the Embarcadero -- odds are a lot of the people who buy Snellgrove's ultra-luxury condos won't live in San Francisco much of the time anyway.

No: What the Warriors realize is that the fate of their arena could be linked to the fate of the height-limit battle on Snellgrove's lot.

The mayor has called the Warriors Arena his legacy project. The head of the Planning Commission says it's a done deal. Despite the screwy financing and the serious problems with traffic and transit, this thing is moving forward through official San Francisco on greased skids.

But given the way things work in this city, it's almost certain that the arena will wind up on the ballot. Either the Warriors will organize an initiative campaign to put it before the voters, or the opponents will. And in this case, both sides will have money -- the neighbors who don't want the project are a relatively well-off bunch.

It's too late for anything to happen for the Warriors this fall, which means a likely battle in November, 2014. But the voters this fall may very well reject the condo towers, and if they do, it will likely hinge on the notion that San Francisco has historically reduced height limits near the Bay. Polls show most voters don't want tall buildings on the waterfront. And a strong vote to reinforce that would have impacts for any future projects.

"If 8 Washington goes down," former Mayor Art Agnos, who opposes both projects, told me, "then the people will have spoken out about big buildings on the waterfront, and the Warriors will be in trouble."

Remember: The arena is only one piece of the Warriors' project. There's also a shopping mall, hotel and highrise housing planned for the area -- and without the highrise on Seawall Lot 333, the arena doesn't pencil out. So you can love the idea of a big ol' flying saucer thingy on a concrete pad four times the size of Union Square sitting on the edge of the Bay and still not like the idea of (once again) spot-zoning a waterfront lot for high-end condos that will block people's views.

If I were opposed to the arena, I'd be reaching out to the folks fighting Snellgrove and throwing some cash their way. Because this is the first in a series of battles over the use of waterfront land, and its importance goes far beyond 134 condo units.


There are skyscrapers all the way down to the embarcadero, from Clay Street to the north to Howard Street to the south.

And neither the arena nor these condo's are remotely high-rise - no more than 150 feet IIRC.

Why not just admit you hate successful people and you hate change? It would be so much simpler and actually show some honesty.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

When so-called "successful people" go around mocking up the world, then, yes, they deserve hate mail!! But these successful people had to rig the system to get their way in the case of the proposed Warriors arena, commercial and condo development. First, the City has heights limits on the waterfront so we can all enjoy the views. What's the reason the Warriors can't build in an area zoned for the heights it's proposing? Second, the Bay Conservation and Development Agency was created to have oversight on these waterfront developments but the Warriors again greased the system by getting "special legislation" to reduce BCDC authority over their project.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

While the undeveloped part of the waterfront is rotting and decaying, and there is nobody there "enjoying the views".

It's a non-issue. Everyone loves Pier 39 and the ballpark. They will love this too.

Posted by anon on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 2:35 pm

would be very interested in a story on Richard and Barbara Stewart who majority funded the current no wall on the waterfront ballot initiative.

Any chance of writing a story on those people who might lose their golden gateway living room view of the bay?

Posted by Maldita fondada on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

Anyone around in 2003 can't forget the mayor's race, when the Chonicle wrote a long article the weekend before the election about the under-priviledged nature and hardships of Gavin Newsome, son of one of the shrewdest and most powerful CA Appelate Court justices, who later whored his brilliant brain to the world's then richest man, Gordon Getty.

The Chronicle loves wealthy developers who build million-dolllar homes since the Chronicle hopes to profit from them every time one is for sale. Besides the endless soft-porn articles about pop stars and endless photo shoots ranging from restaurants serving $250 dinners to remote, pristne camping sites that had once eluded the masses, the Chonicle is your best bet for supporting high-end house porn, so best check with them.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 9:14 pm

I'm not sure I follow. I was asking if the SFBG would write an article about a single elderly, white, married couple who primarily funded the efforts to collect signatures for the no wall ballot initiative.
The initiative is being touted as the voice of the people - yet it is primarily paid for by a single wealthy couple that live in a high rise community and wish to protect their personal view.

Would also be interesting to do a story on how the IRS is investigating some of the non profits who have thrown money into the no wall campaign for money laundering

Posted by Maldita fondada on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 6:43 am

harm their pet causes.

For instance, the entire IRS scandal that is rocking DC is not even happening if you believe the SFBG. And yet if the IRS had been targeting left-wing groups, they'd be all over it like a rash.

Don't come here for objective journalism.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 7:09 am

The 8 Washington developer's attorney asked the IRS to investigate their political opponents -- that's not an actual investigation any more than the IRS is investigating Simon Snellgrove for his funneling lobbying and campaign donations through non-profit groups all over town: unless they are . . .

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 2:23 pm

Grocery shopping at the Protrero center on Sunday afternoon, I was approached by a ballot canvasser for "a new park".

The new park, on closer inspection, was on top of part of the 8 Washington complex. It was in reality a ballot to have 8 Washington put in place.

Wholly deceptive. Disgusting.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 9:19 am

As opposed to the current situation, where it is a private recreation club for wealthy commuters from elsewhere who work in downtown SF.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 9:38 am

...where none exists now because of the tennis club and parking lot. Including a new playground.

What the canvasser said was entirely on a par with "raising the height limit on the entire waterfront" and building a "wall on the waterfront".

It's ony "Wholly deceptive. Disgusting." when the other side does it. When your side does it, it is "forceful advocacy".

Posted by Troll on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 9:56 am

They're not telling people the truth. As previously reported in these pages, "Golden Gateway, which was built in a redevelopment area as middle-class housing . So they are building a gated community for rich white folks on land that was supposed to be for the middle-class. And circumventing tax and housing laws to do it. Oh, and since when does "our side" privatize public space for personal gain? Give me one example. You can't do it, because that's almost exclusively the prerogative of the rich. Progressives have fought to keep these spaces accessible for everyone -- those who are truly progressive, anyway...and not just in name.

Posted by Sofia on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 10:27 am

Who is spreading misinformation now?

That property is currently private, and 8Wash will return some of it to public use. If it isn't built, then you will continue to have no access.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 10:39 am

I love the way that the members only tennis club is "for the middle class". Last I heard it was $110 a month but that was awhile ago. So a couple can pay close to $3,000 a year to play tennis and swim there. Real working class heroes.

Posted by Troll on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 11:13 am

because the GG facility was expensive. I'm sure it's even pricier now.

So nice of progressives to want to preserve a club that would not admit them as members.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 11:33 am

>"Oh, and since when does "our side" privatize public space for personal gain? Give me one example. "

Okay. But could you please tell me where I said that your side does that? Because I didn't. You made that part up.

What I did say is that these paid canvassers earn their money by spinning the argument in their favor, e.g., "Wall on the waterfront".

Surely you know about paid canvassers...YOUR SIDE used them first. So you probably looked the other way until the other side started using them.

Posted by Troll on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 11:09 am