Business, labor and community leaders and former Golden State Warriors players today announced the launch of a new group that will organize in support of the team’s proposed San Francisco waterfront arena.
The “Warriors on the Waterfront” group will come out in force to support the new arena plan at upcoming public meetings and is also organizing playoff watch parties when the Warriors begin their run in the NBA playoffs starting this weekend.
The team, which currently plays at Oracle Arena in Oakland, announced last May that it plans to build a new arena by 2017 at Piers 30-32 between the Bay Bridge and AT&T Park.
Bob Linscheid, president of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, said at a news conference outside City Hall that the arena is “more than just basketball,” saying it will be a state-of-the-art venue that can also host concerts and other large events.
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Linscheid said, “The arena will be a stimulus for filling up hotel rooms and restaurants and driving commerce in our community.”
Tom O’Connor, president of San Francisco Firefighters Local 798, said the Warriors “have made a concerted effort to make sure labor and everyone has had a seat at the table,” calling the plan “labor friendly and neighborhood friendly.”
Bob Graham, a 77-year-old retiree living on Brannan Street a short walk from the proposed arena site, said he has watched the Warriors since they played in San Francisco at the Cow Palace decades ago and is looking forward to their return to the city.
Graham said the group will “give people not connected with the process … a chance to express their enthusiasm and support” for the arena project.
However, not all neighbors are in favor of the plans.
A handful of members from the San Francisco Waterfront Alliance, a coalition of neighbors, homeowners and other concerned citizens, attended today’s news conference and handed out material opposing the speed with which the project is moving forward.
“We think that this project actually really requires a debate not a parade,” said Gayle Cahill, chair of the alliance.
Cahill said the project is moving forward at an “unprecedented pace” and that “people are voting a thumbs up on this and they don’t even really know what it looks like.”
The Warriors have clinched a playoff spot this season but the dates and times of their first-round games will not be announced until Thursday.
The Warriors on the Waterfront group will be organizing playoff watch parties at various restaurants around the city.
More information about the group and the watch parties can be found on their website at www.warriorsonthewaterfront.com.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News