Warriors' S.F. arena will be significantly smaller than Oracle

August 1, 2012, 4:28 pm
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The Warriors announced on May 21 that they were going to tryto build a waterfront arena in downtown San Francisco that would be ready forthe 2017 season.Since then, the Warriors have been pushing forward with theproject. Over the weekend, team president Rick Welts appeared on KCBS In-Depthshow to give a few updates on whats going on with the proposed arena.Here are some excerpts:On the size of the proposed arena:Welts: "We havent landed completely on the numberof seats. It will not be as large from a capacity standpoint as the arena weplay in now (19, 596). We think, frankly, thats a good design. We want it tobe an extremely intimate facility. But until we do have the design nailed down,its not possible to explain with accuracy the size of it.On what the proposed arena will look like, itsdesign and how much tickets will cost:Welts: Its going to be top of the line in everyrespect. We dont really know what the economy is going to be in five years. Wedont know what the economics of the NBA will be in five years; its evenpremature to talk about pricing.What we do know is we want the arena to be full every nightand for it to be full every night it has to be organized and priced in a waythat 16,000, 17,000 are excited about coming. Were a long way toward gettingto those discussions. Its really going to be as much about where the NBAeconomics go over the next five-year period.On people doubting whether the arena will be builtby 2017, as projected:Welts: Anyone who is not familiar with ourownership group, I can understand the skepticism. But this is not only(co-owner) Peter Guber and (co-owner) Joe Lacob who are leading this. They paidthe highest price ever paid for an NBA team to have the privilege of doingbusiness in the Bay Area.REWIND: Warriors announce S.F. arena plan
And this is a doubling down and then some on thatinvestment. Thats the easiest part of the process. Anybody who is trying toput out there skepticism based on that doesnt understand the financial wherewithalof this ownership group. Beyond Peter Guber and Joe Lacob is really 20 ofSilicon Valleys Whos Who, all united and excited about the project and theyunderstand this, again, financed privately by the ownership group.On failed attempts in the past to build on Piers30-32:Welts: There have been many failed proposals onthat site and the most daunting reason for that is the 100 million-plus thatits going to cost just to put the piers in a condition where development canactually take place.That number has scared away a lot of people in the past. Weaccept that number. Thats in our plan. Were going to spend that money tobring the pier back to public use. It literally has no value other than as aparking lot. And that, to us, seems like something we can reclaim for the cityin a way that will be much better public use.On the timing of contracting with an architect todesign the proposed arena:Welts: We know what it wont be; we dont knowyet what it will be. Were just starting the public process and thats going tohelp determine that. We see this as an iconic site. We think it has to be anarchitecturally significant structure. Were in the process of interviewingvery well-known, to San Francisco, architects that are very excited about beinginvolved in this project.RELATED: Steinmetz -- Can Joe Lacob deliver on his latest promise?
We hope to pick that architect or those architects sometime in the next month. We think that will be greeted as a sign of ourunderstanding of the significance of the site.On the special-interest groups who might make itchallenging to get the project done:Welts: Transparency is something were veryfocused on. We have amazing vistas. The arena itself will only occupy 25 to 30percent of that site so theres opportunities in how you place it, amount ofglass you use, that really takes advantage of these extraordinary views youhave from this site.Its a Work in progress. Before anything is finalized fromthe approval standpoint, obviously we have to have a very specific plan inmind. Were going through the process of community engagement and gatheringideas. Its a pier so there have to be marine uses that are incorporated intothis.All those things are in discussion right now and will haveto be finalized before the project is approved.

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