warriors.jpgThe Golden State Warriors have agreed to adhere to San Francisco’s local hire ordinance by employing at least 25 percent city residents in the construction of their proposed arena along the waterfront, Mayor Ed Lee announced today.

The Warriors’ privately-funded arena, which the team hopes to build at Piers 30-32 just south of the Bay Bridge in time for the 2017-18 NBA season, was not required to adhere to the local hire ordinance, which only applies to city-funded projects.

But team president Rick Welts said the Warriors wanted to help San Francisco workers by ensuring they would be a part of building the $1 billion arena.

“This has to be a good deal for San Francisco,” Welts said, adding that the team has already been working with neighbors to address traffic and crowd issues.

Welts said the Warriors also agreed that 50 percent of apprentice-level workers would be local hires and that the team is also establishing a “Helmets to Hardhats” program to connect returning veterans to construction jobs on the arena project.

The Warriors currently play at Oracle Arena in Oakland, where they have a lease through 2017. The team announced in May that they plan to move to San Francisco once their lease is up.

Mayor Lee said today that the Warriors and their arena “will be a great, great addition to the economy of our city for years to come.”

Board of Supervisors president David Chiu said he was glad the team was “playing ball with the city” and said he looked forward to “building a future gem for all of us to be proud of.”

City officials estimate that more than 4,300 jobs would be created in the project–more than 2,600 in constructing the arena and more than 1,700 in permanent positions.

The project passed an initial step today when the Board of Supervisors’ budget and finance committee approved a resolution declaring the arena financially feasible for the city.

The full board must approve the resolution before the city can began its state-required environmental review of the project.

At today’s committee hearing, city and Warriors officials discussed the team’s agreement to spend up to $120 million to fix the crumbling infrastructure at Piers 30-32.

The Warriors would be reimbursed by the city for those costs at a 13 percent interest rate, a number that has been disparaged as too high by critics of the project.

But Jennifer Matz, who is overseeing the project for the mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, told the supervisors that the 13 percent figure is normal for a public-private partnership and actually lower than other recent projects in the city, including an 18.5 percent rate for redeveloping Treasure Island.

“It reflects the risks the Warriors are taking by investing in our infrastructure,” Matz said.

The proposed 17,000-seat arena would feature 7 acres of public open space nearby as well as places where ferries and other watercraft could bring fans to games and other events there.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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