S.F. Warriors Stadium no longer on waterfront

At home here in Chicago, my favorite view of the city is from the Adler Planetarium — a part of the city east of Lake Shore Drive that overlooks the entire skyline with Lake Michigan beneath it. Just down the street is Soldier Field, that upon its renovation in 2003, features enhanced views of the Chicago skyline for fans in the south side of the stadium. My personal experience doesn’t stop in Chicago. The new football stadium at my alma mater in the University of Minnesota features an opening that invites the Minneapolis skyline in the distance.

The point being?

San Francisco was about to trump them all. Until this past weekend.

Plans for a new basketball arena for the Golden State Warriors have been in the works for the past three years for Piers 30-32 alongside San Francisco’s waterfront that would create breathtaking views of the iconic Bay Bridge (take a moment, but try not to get sentimental, with the gallery above).

However, the Warriors purchased 12 acres of private property from Salesforce.com in the Mission Bay neighborhood this weekend, essentially ending the dream of a second stadium on their waterfront (joining AT&T Park). To sum up the details below, the regulations needed for approval for construction of the Snøhetta x AECOM designed stadium became cumbersome enough that it might not get approved for that site. Therefore, there will be a new site for the upcoming stadium for the Golden State (possibly San Francisco) Warriors (note the other news in the ESPN article).

Warriors President and CEO Rick Welts told ESPN:

Welts said the regulatory hoops they’d have to jump through to get that project approved became too burdensome and “there came a point in time where certainty just became the most important thing.”

While the new arena won’t sit on the piers with striking views of the Bay Bridge, Welts said the new property will also have unobstructed views of the San Francisco Bay. The only thing standing between the new arena, which will also include a practice facility and team offices, will be a five-acre park.

The project, which is entirely privately financed, is expected to cost upwards of $1 billion, although it’s impossible to project a new estimate until new architectural plans are drawn. Welts said the regulatory process at the Mission Bay site is far simpler than what the team experienced at the waterfront site to the north.

“There’s a master development Mission Bay plan that was adopted 15 years ago that governs all the development here, so it operates under its own set of rules,” Welts said. “And because of that, we don’t have the regulatory process that we had at the other site.

This is crushing news to fans, like myself (as established above) of stadiums with open views of their city — a trend also happening in Sacramento (also by AECOM) and again in Minneapolis. This characteristic of stadium design is one that, I have felt first-hand, connects the fan to the city on top of that feeling attending a sporting event already inspires. This Warriors stadium not coming to fruition especially stings because the Bay Bridge is in the top tier of my favorite city-defining landmarks. I also feel that the park and public space surrounding the proposed stadium on the pier would have become a go-to recreation spot for San Francisco residents year-round, not only when there’s basketball being played.

warriors-stadium5

8 acres of public space surrounded the proposed stadium beneath the Bay Bridge.

*sigh* Wouldn’t it have been sweet to see Steph Curry reign threes like these with the Bay Bridge peaking in through the window?

(And this, coming from a fan of the Warriors and San Francisco from a distance…)

Steph Curry’s 5 1st Quarter 3-pointers in Game 4… all at the same time.

Imagine watching that GIF happening with that window view...

Imagine watching that GIF with THAT window view…