The Golden State Warriors and Port of San Francisco will present the plans for a 128-foot-tall arena to be built upon San Francisco’s Piers 30-32 to the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission’s Design Review Board on April 7, the first formal pre-application review for the project as proposed (click images to enlarge).

Tasked with advising the Bay Conservation and Development Commission on the adequacy of the proposed project’s public access, appearance and impact on scenic views, the Design Review Board will have six key issues to consider:
1. Massing and Character: “The Board should consider whether the proposed Piers 30-32 project would be compatible with and reflect the waterfront district identity and historic character. (The Commission staff will seek the Board’s advice on project details, such as building materials, advertising and utility placement at a later time, when relevant design information is available).”
2. Heights and Views: “The Board should consider whether the varying heights and arrangement of the proposed development is appropriate for the location and would preserve Bay views to the maximum extent feasible. In addition, the Board should consider whether the proposed heights allow for maximum feasible public views of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and the hills around the Bay.”

3. Public Access and Adjoining Uses: “The Board should consider whether the proposed public access at Piers 30-32 would provide opportunities to enjoy the Bay, and be connected physically and visually to the Bay. The Board should also consider how outdoor dining, docking, and any on-land operational facilities for fireboats, water taxis, and cruise ships would operate and be managed to maximize use and enjoyment of the public areas.”
4. Public Access and Views: “The Board should consider whether proposed public areas would have more of a relationship to the water than to the mixed-use project. Additionally, the Board should consider whether, as proposed, the public access is comprised of minor variations in elevation, whether covered public areas would serve the public, whether proposed access located at the southern part of the site takes advantage of the open water basin location, and whether public areas would provide views not only of the Bay but also back to the City of San Francisco.”
5. Circulation: “The Board should consider whether the proposed circulation and ingress/egress points for vehicles (including emergency vehicles), pedestrians, persons with disabilities, and bicycles would facilitate efficient, safe, and comfortable movement for all site visitors.”
6. Future Sea Level Rise and Flooding: “The Board should consider whether, based on information provided to date, the proposed public access areas would be resilient and adaptable to future sea level rise and flooding.”

62 thoughts on “Six Key Issues For Warriors Proposed Arena Slated For Design Review”
  1. Really? I have no clue why people think this is a triumph. This is a pretty boring building, even by US arena standards.

  2. I’m in the this doesn’t belong here camp. I’m very confident that even in the unlikelihood that the average citizen is for this, the towers across the street will sway opinion the other way

  3. I’m with you Sam. What happened to the discussion of moving the whole idea further south, in SFGiants land?

  4. It is surprisingly ugly. I didn’t expect this. The earlier renderings kind of made the whole thing disappear. Surprise. It doesn’t belong here. Move south is right idea.
    Traffic will be. Very bad. Most of fan base does not live in San Francisco. Regional tourist attraction with big neighborhood impact.

  5. The renderings look good but it’s not at street level. Personally, I’d like to see it turned into what it was originally intended…a cruise ship terminal.

  6. Looking forward to seeing shows and games here, as well as enjoying the open space integrated into the plans. Being walking distance from BART and MuniMetro is a big plus. Agree that this rendering does not do it justice (compared with the more detailed renderings that are available at the Warriors’s site).

  7. I hope this gets built it. Great public viewing of the bay, and great events can happen here.
    I’d like to see a few hotels along the water as well. Some great examples of this at Sydney Harbor. They really know how to use their waterfront, and keep it accessible to the public.

  8. I’d like to see renderings from other angles and viewpoints. Based on this one, I have to agree it looks massively out of scale with the surroundings. We need an arena, but I’m still not convinced this is a good location.
    And to those who insist congestion is not a concern, snoozeball season is about to start. Go check out this part of the Embarcadero during afternoon rush hour on a weekday when the Giants play at 7pm. Then imagine if there was also a Warriors game or a U2 concert at the same time.

  9. I think it’s wonderful. It’s a working port folks not Yosemite. I look forward to visiting the arena and surrounding outdoor space to enjoy the views and the bay. The piers now are an eyesore and do not benefit anyone.

  10. @formidable – yes, congestion will be bad. So? It would be worse with the arena anywhere else, since this is basically the most transit-friendly location that can support an arena west of Chicago.
    Imagine the horrendous congestion if we sited the arena CLOSER to AT&T Park, where many are suggesting?!?!

  11. Man, looks super cool.. Though this rendering is definitely more conservative than the original Snohetta design
    I hope the vocal opposition minority doesn’t win on this one. On the piers is so much more dramatic.. Who cares if they build some condos to fund it. But it’s SF, so I give it a 40% chance of getting built..

  12. congestion at mission bay should be less than at pier 30-32 for the critical evening rush hour traffic
    Mission Bay location has more capacity to absorb additional load
    – Bay Bridge and adjacent hwy and feeder roads are much more congested than Mission Bay
    – Mission Bay allows more flexibility to plan for the additional load
    – building at Mission Bay will displace other development, so it is not just additive
    Mission Bay location has similar or better transportation access
    – BART/MUNI train are about equal when the Central Subway opens in 2019
    – closer to Caltrain
    – better parking because both the Giants and UCSF will have public garages
    – closer to 280 for drivers from south and west
    afaik, congestion favors Mission Bay, while aesthetics and fixing a rotting pier favor Pier 30-32.

  13. Absolutely out of scale. I dominates the landscape and from street level the visual impact would be even worse. Move it somewhere else and I’d gladly support it. Not on the waterfront though.

  14. I’d like to see a separate review for all the profit-grabbing projects that were tacked on to the arena (namely the condo, hotel, and retail developments).
    The condo project has no business being built at that height, and does not deserve either the sweetheart real-estate deal nor the zoning change it would require.
    I for one would be much more supportive of the arena project without all the graft.

  15. Cool. Didn’t notice until now that Red’s will still have dedicated outdoor dining when its moved to the south side of the pier.
    As for the condo, the hotel, and retail on SWL330, I’m trying to find data on the amount of taxes for the city those buildings will generate, and how much will that development contribute to the city’s affordable housing fund. I’m guessing with 8 Washington to have generated $11 million for the fund, SWL330 will generate at least that much, probably more. Anybody have this data?
    Both of those items need to be considered as well when determining whether this project gets green-lighted.

  16. “The condo project has no business being built at that height”
    – It will still be shorter than The Watermark. I still don’t understand the “height” argument against some of these projects, when they’re still shorter than the adjacent buildings (8 Washington).

  17. Candlestick Parking lot would be far cheaper and much easier to get too.
    But Ed Lee probably already made a deal to sell the property.

  18. I still don’t understand the “height” argument against the condos and other projects that are proposed to be shorter than their surroundings, a la 8 Washington.

  19. “I’d like to see a separate review for all the profit-grabbing projects that were tacked on to the arena (namely the condo, hotel, and retail developments).
    The condo project has no business being built at that height, and does not deserve either the sweetheart real-estate deal nor the zoning change it would require.
    I for one would be much more supportive of the arena project without all the graft.” -ciparis
    And where is your proof of this “graft”? It sounds to me like you’re just making things up. Or are new condos and hotels automatically proof of “graft” in your opinion?

  20. “It will still be shorter than The Watermark”
    The Watermark doesn’t abut the Embarcadero — the proposed condo does. The adjacent buildings in either direction along Embarcadero are much shorter.
    There’s a height restriction on that lot for good reason: building tall buildings along The Embarcadero walls off the waterfront from the rest of the city. We’re not talking about a minor impact in this case; I’ve personally modeled it in Google Earth to see for myself. A sizable chunk of South Beach will lose much of their bridge view if the proposed condo goes up to that height.
    Finally, not that the city has a great track record in this regard, but people who live in that area have a not-unreasonable expectation for zoning laws to be enforced as equally for new developments as they are for their own dwelling, and have invested accordingly.

  21. “And where is your proof of this “graft”? ”
    Why does the city have to sweeten an incredibly good deal for the arena’s builders by throwing in high-value land (being sold at a discount) and zoning exceptions for a handful of nearby developments?

  22. @Fishchum, in regards to your question about the height issue with SWL330, its zoned for 105/65. I’m assuming that the maximum height of 65′ is bounding the Embarcadero and 105′ is closer to the Watermark.
    The planned hotel and retail on SWL330 fits within the zoning, so technically, no issue in regards to height. The condo needs a variance because its 175′, exceeding the maximum height restrictions in general for SWL330 *and* it bounds the Embarcadero, where the maximum is set at 65′ per my assumption. BTW, the condo is still shorter than the Watermark, which is 223′.
    @ciparis, I know its subjective, but as I looked at the elevation drawing for SWL330, the condo doesn’t look that imposing to me as drawn and where it sits, but then again, that’s just me. Snohetta designed the condo as a diamond shape (as you look top down), and one of the more pointed corners sits at the corner of Brannan and the Embarcadero. Maybe that visual trick is why I don’t see the condo as so imposing…
    My bigger concern is that because of the variance requirement needed for the current iteration of the condo, the condo gets redesigned to fit within the already approved 105/65 height restriction for SWL330 and keeps the SQF desired by the Warriors.
    Since you can model in Google Earth, you should take a look at modeling a mass that’s 65′ along the Embarcadero and 105′ closer to the Watermark. That is what my concern is – that a redesigned condo with the same square footage and fits within the current and approved height restrictions for SWL330 blends together with the hotel and retail and becomes one huge (and height restriction conforming) monolithic mass sitting on SWL330.

  23. @above
    Agreed, I don’t see how you can keep the same SQF and not look like the bastard child of a strip mall and a hospital/industrial complex. But my take-away from that is just that the lot doesn’t support that SQF.

  24. One Embarcadero South at 88 King St across from ATT Park is on a similar scale to the Warriors proposal for SWL330.
    One Embarcadero South:
    13 and 14 story towers
    233 residential units (1150 sqft ave)
    260 parking spaces
    2 acre site
    Warriors SWL330:
    175 ft max height
    100-130 residential units
    200-250 hotel rooms
    200-300 parking spaces
    2.3 acre site

  25. “Mission Bay location has more capacity to absorb additional load . . . ”
    FWIW, and as someone who lives a short walk from both sites and who commutes to the southbay for work (drives through the area during rush hours), here’s my two cents on Jake’s earlier comments:
    – “Bay Bridge and adjacent hwy and feeder roads are much more congested than Mission Bay” From a driving standpoint, I’m not quite how much a difference this makes as opposed to the ability to handle congestion during game days. Having driven through the area during a game day from both 280N as well as from China Basin, I can vouch that China Basin’s surface streets aren’t necessarily built to take on additional traffic (i.e. just as few choke points and get just as and/or more backed up during a game day).
    – “Mission Bay allows more flexibility to plan for the additional load.” Not clear on this point but if you’re referring to the ability to open up more streets see the above.
    – “building at Mission Bay will displace other development, so it is not just additive.” OK, and building at the Pier 30/32 location would be redevelopment (most of us would say vast improvement) where there’s been nothing but rotting piers for the past 15+ years. Not quite sure how this is seen as additive or a strike.
    “Mission Bay location has similar or better transportation access
    – “BART/MUNI train are about equal when the Central Subway opens in 2019.” There isn’t a clear transfer from BART to the Central Subway (they’re two disparate systems). Piers 30-32 are a 0.7 mile walk from the Embarcadero BART station today.
    – “closer to Caltrain.” Agreed. One would connect on MUNI (T, J, or N) to get dropped off directly in front of the Pier 30/32 location 0.8 miles away (or walk ~10 minutes).
    – “better parking because both the Giants and UCSF will have public garages.” Aren’t the Giants reducing the total number of parking spaces? And, has UCSF agreed to allow parking for either uses (I haven’t seen anything). My office is close to the Niners’ new stadium and they had issues with being able to support parking (10K spaces) for Monday and Thursday night games. Although, I think they finally worked it out, it’s not a gimme to assume that neighbors will allow free access to their parking spaces/lots.
    – “closer to 280 for drivers from south and west.” Goes without saying but marginal difference (0.7 miles).
    Left out:
    Ferry Access: for people in the north (includes Sausalito, Tiburon, Larkspur, Hercules, Vallejo) and the east bay (Oakland and Alameda) that leaves people 0.7 miles from the Pier 30/32 location (conversely, 1.7 miles to Pier 48 behind at&t ballpark).

  26. Why exactly do we need this stuff in SF? Regardless of the exact location, the transportation infrastructure is insufficient. Caltrain can barely handle the regular commute, let alone baseball games, and add 200 arena events that may overlap with the 81 regular season Giants home games, and you have a severe quality-of-life issue for people commuting to the Peninsula whether driving or using public transportation in the form of MUNI and Caltrain.
    In addition, you have a lot of construction going on in the general neighborhood. The second One Rincon Hill tower seems getting close to completion. Lumina, with 650 or so units, is being built. Etc. That’s going to impact the needs of the transportation infrastructure.
    Now, will the billionaire owners of the Warriors, (vanity sport team owners) pay the likes of Caltrain and MUNI to fix transportation issues?
    One more thought: Think NFL. Some people claim that this arena is needed to make SF a “world-class” city. The current stadium for the Warriors is a mere 20 minute BART ride away from the proposed location. In football, both the NY Giants and the NY Jets play their home games in New Jersey rather than in Manhattan. Does that mean that NYC is not a “world-class” city? Let’s keep the Warriors in Oakland.

  27. ^Football is a suburban sport, with only 8 games a year (add a handful more for preseason and playoffs) and in stadiums that are mostly useless for other events.
    Basketball activates the streetlife ~50 games per year for the average franchise, and arenas of this size are useful for so many other events that it will likely be used more than half the days of the year.
    Arenas are not comparable to ginormous football stadiums.

  28. @sfjhawk, I believe that by the time the arena and SWL330 are built, only the Muni N and E will be running on that section of track in front of the complex. The N and E would share the CalTrain, 2nd, Brannan, and Folsom/Harrison stations (although I’ve heard that the city is considering running the E down 3rd into Mission Bay, overlapping with the T and building a turnaround for it south of 16th).
    I also stated elsewhere on this blog that with all the people in the area due to Giants games, events at the arena and all the new condos going up on Harrison, Main, & Folsom that would be served by the Folsom/Harrison Muni stop, that the E *not* be the currently proposed single car historic train, but the N-style double (maybe triple by then?) car trains to help ease transport of all the additional people I’m guessing will be the area then.
    The T will be running on the new track up 4th street and into/out of the tunnel to Chinatown (and hopefully North Beach – fingers crossed) currently being built.

  29. You guys aren’t paying attention. This will NOT be the final location. Once it is built, they will lob it into the air from its platform, and wherever it lands, that is its final resting place. Would be really cool if it spins on its sides for a few minutes, like a quarter.

  30. If the Warriors go deep in the Playofffs, more people will speak out in favor. 20 and 30s age range Caucasians nd Asians Americans follow warriors more than Giants and 49ers and all are dying for an arena for concerts so don’t have to go to Oakland or San Jose. SF needs this and it’s beautiful. It’s weird that people who buy downtown in the den sent part of the city are against new construction. This is the best spot for public transportation.

  31. Warriors coming to SF = good.
    Build a new arena on the Embarcadero = bad.
    Built it in Mission Bay or somewhere else in the 101/280 corridor near existing mass transit.

  32. Look, I want this thing on the waterfront more than anybody, but at this point there is no point in exhausting energy thinking about it. But a couple points.
    1) Half (and I’m being generous) of the people yelling “Put it somewhere else!” will come out of the woodwork just as viciously opposed to whatever location it ends up at, for some other reason.
    2) Would anybody else, from any other city, look at this centrally located, downtown, dense, transport friendly (for SF, anyway), near another stadium (and universally regarded as one of the top 3 in baseball) and plenty of bars and nightlife and trendy restaurants, and say “No, this just doesn’t fit in at all and is inappropriate?”. San Francisco has a completely delusional view of itself sometimes. Like somebody else has pointed out, if you want no large events, only biking, less density, shorter buildings, more green space, more views, no crowds, no traffic, less people, etc it’s called Marin and people seem to love it there. Please stop bringing a rural mindset to the second densest city in America.

  33. FYI, the Save the SF waterfront people have been asking their internal list to spam this thread with negative comments about the project.
    Larry speaks orders and his NIMBY minions obey.

  34. JWS, thanks for paraphrasing me… made my really rainy day.
    I think they should build the stadium, find some way to get bart running all night on weekends, and close the bars at 4am. Why live in a city if you don’t want to live in a city; tall buildings and all?
    (And why have public transportation that only runs when people aren’t drunk?)

  35. The stadium is much too high for it’s location. The monolithic massing and negativley impact residents feeling of being connected to the water in particular and the East Bay in general. Not rocket science, city planning 101.
    It’s ridiculus to give the developers a sweetheat deal on the hotel an condo land. The NBA is very profitable and the indvidual owners are very weathly. They have business know- how and access to resources to fund the stadium on their own with out sweetners thrown in. Not to mention that the GIANT demographic shift toward living in ciites gives ANY city an upperhand in any negotiation. i personally wouldn’t give them jack. I’d rather be known for having outstanding public schools, a great transportation system, a good business environment and wonderful street life than having a some iconic basketball arena.
    Definately should move the arena to the mission Bay location. Drop the round building. Put it on a street grid and add other attractions (facing the street) in the facilty besides just a court and stadium seating. This will allow an active street for 365 days instead of 50 days on game days. Smaller sq footage devoted to stadium seats won’t harm the owners in any way…it’s all about TV and licensing revenue anyway.

  36. “I’d rather be known for having outstanding public schools, a great transportation system, a good business environment and wonderful street life”
    – OK, great. Where exactly are these in San Francisco?

  37. What exactly is the sweetheart deal on SWL330? I’ve seen comments on this a couple of times. Can somebody post the details?

  38. Seawall Lot 330 was offered to the America’s Cup in 2010 for $33 million and now is being offered to the Warriors for $30.4 million.
    Somehow the last remaining piece of undeveloped waterfront property in South Beach has lost value while prices have been soaring everywhere else in the area.

  39. Cool. Thanks @Jake. Can you post the URL to the detail? Been googling and can’t find reference to the $33/$30 million detail. Not doubting you, just looking for the deep dive.

  40. A reduction in asking price does not mean it has lost value. Maybe it was worth $20M in 2010 and $25M now.

  41. The price being offered to the Warriors is only being offered with the stipulation that the pier be refurbished and used. The America’s Cup situation had a similar stipulation, though with no public open space provided on the pier, where the Warriors are basically proposing to build a fancy new waterfront park surrounding the arena.

  42. Maybe the appraiser paid by the Warriors overvalued SWL330. Wouldn’t that be hilarious.
    Maybe Salesforce got ripped off back in 2010 when they paid $20 million/acre for land more than a mile away in what many consider a less desirable location. And maybe KB Home regrets paying $20.5 millon for 72 Townsend just last year.
    And who knows maybe the “fair market” lease of a completely rebuilt 12+ acre pier with magnificent views and in “the best spot for public transportation” is truly less than $2 million per year, which is less than $4/sqft-year.
    FWIW, the price offered for SWL330 was part of a deal that included refurbishing the pier at the expense of SF.

  43. The official SFgov project website has some financial analysis. It doesn’t include all of the costs to be borne by the city because some haven’t been officially estimated yet. The ‘Budget and Legislative Analyst Report on Fiscal Feasibility’ is the most recent and concise.
    The price for Seawall Lot 330 offered to the America’s Cup was $33,050,413. A google of that should find similar reports from 2010.

  44. Thanks @Jake. Found this in the “Budget and Legislative Analyst Report on Fiscal Feasibility.”
    “Project Funding
    Under the Conceptual Framework, GSW would lease Pier 30-32 from the Port for 66 years, and GSW would purchase the remaining 2.3 acres of Seawall Lot 330 from the Port outright. GSW would be responsible to pay all financing and constructions costs, including CEQA-related costs. Under the Conceptual Framework, up to $120,000,000 in construction costs for the rehabilitation of Pier 30-32 would be considered reimbursable by the Port to GSW.
    The agreement would limit this reimbursement to three sources:
    1. Rent credits from the fair market lease of Pier 30-32, totaling an estimated $1,970,000 per year, plus annual consumer price index (CPI) and/or other market adjustments, to be negotiated;
    2. Fair market sale revenues from Seawall Lot 330, totaling an estimated $30,400,000; and
    3. Bond proceeds from a proposed Infrastructure Financing District (IFD) to be established on Pier 30-32 and Seawall Lot 330, subject to future Board of Supervisors approval, totaling an estimated $60,000,000.”

  45. City lost money on Americas cup. Only the most wealthy a
    45+ crowd cared about Americas cup. WRriors have a broad following, this allows big events and concerts, and arena huge long term economic boon for city. They should get a better deal.
    Very hard to fathom anyone except the most selfish to be against this

  46. Moto, I respect your opinion and agree with much of it, but people don’t have to be selfish or even against it to have concerns about the Warriors plan.
    Here’s something I wrote on this site last July:
    “I think the Warrior’s stadium plan is the best plan for pier 30-32 in the 20+ years I’ve lived nearby.

    Events at the multi-purpose venue may be subject to the current stadium admissions tax. Currently, the San Francisco Giants pay a Stadium Tax of $0.25 a ticket for events at AT&T Park. The majority of events at the proposed multi-purpose venue would be subject to a higher tax rate of $2.25 ticket.”
    Sometime after the voters approve a Warriors ballot measure similar to the 1996 one for the Giants, I won’t be at all surprised if the Warriors ask for the same ticket tax deal as the Giants. And poof $4 million a year is gone.
    Add it to a lowball rent, a sweetheart land purchase, fun and games dedicating property taxes….
    Remember the Warriors 13% vig in the original deal?
    Where the Warriors choose to build may depend as much on the architecture of the deal as the architecture of the building, just like the Giants and 49ers before them.
    Let’s see if Mayor Lee negotiates better than would a Mayor Yee.
    “There’s tremendous opportunity in local levels … because whoever’s gonna be the mayor controls everything.”
    Leland Yee

  47. It’s basically a big wall blocking the water. I think it is horrible. Move it elsewhere in San Francisco, but not long a prime piece of San Francisco waterfront.
    It’s basically like rebuilding the double decker embarcadero freeway again. If this were to be built it would be a HUGE mistake. It simply does NOT belong. This is an perfect example of not fitting into a landscape.
    The developers think that this project is akin to the successful ballpark, but its so fundamentally different mainly because basketball is an interior sport with an interior focus. Building this stadium would be a travesty.

  48. This isn’t a “wall” by any stretch of the imagination. Comparing it to the old Embarcadero freeway is pure hyperbole.
    That “prime piece of San Francisco waterfront” is a dilapidated, crumbling pier surrounded by a chain link fence, BTW.

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