Mark Byrnes is a former senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
Evolving designs for the Golden State Warriors' planned new home.
Closer than ever to leaving Oakland, the Golden State Warriors now have a better idea of what their new home might look like once they cross over to the west side of the San Francisco Bay.
The team released updated renderings for the "San Francisco Venue Development Project" Monday, designed by architects AECOM and Snøhetta.
It's a big departure from where the Warriors currently play, the nearly 50-year old Oracle arena and the oldest in-use facility in the NBA. Unlike an early round of initial renderings released last fall, the updated vision for the project includes more public space, better pedestrian access to the waterfront, and a reduced parking footprint (from 630 parking spots to 500). The arena will also be shorter than originally planned, now roughly 12 stories high.
The arena itself will allow for pedestrians to look onto the court from outside, perhaps a nod to neighboring AT&T Park, whose knot-hole fence allows fans without tickets to peer onto the field during games. In turn, the new Warriors arena would also allow paying fans to look out onto views of the Bay Bridge from their seat. A disc-shaped roof would project images via LEDs, much like the Bay Bridge itself has been doing lately.
The $1 billion dollar project includes the Warriors signing a long-term lease on piers 30-32 (waterfront property long used as surface parking) from the city, with $100 million of the project cost committed to pier improvements.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the franchise seems well prepared for any opposition to construction, assembling a staff of consultants experienced with Bay Area development, including former spokesmen for Mayors Gavin Newsom and Willie Brown as well as a collection of land use and economic development experts.
That could come in handy as former mayor Art Agnos, ex-state senator Quentin Copp and retired city administrator Rudy Nothenberg are leading a new alliance opposed to any concept the Warriors put forward, citing an arena (and the traffic it would bring) as the wrong plan for piers 30-32. "The design has never been an issue," Nothenberg told the Chronicle, adding, "It's the location and use…that are wrong.’" Despite those objections, Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob told the Chronicle earlier this year, "It is going to happen - let there be no doubt."
The arena project will be seen by San Francisco's Planning Commission Thursday and the Port Commission on Tuesday. Construction is still slated to begin sometime next year with a 2017 opening.
All images via the Golden State Warriors