After years of planning, one trashed proposal, delays, gaining approval from the requisite regulatory agencies, and defeating a great many lawsuits, the Golden State Warriors are finally beginning construction on Chase Center.
The team will celebrate the long-awaited groundbreaking on their state-of-the-art 18,000-seat arena and 11-acre entertainment complex in Mission Bay during a ceremony today, live-streaming on ChaseCenter.com and on csnbayarea.com at 11:00 a.m. Members of both the front office and team will be featured: Managing Partner Joe Lacob, Co-Owner Peter Guber, Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts, Head Coach Steve Kerr and Kevin Durant. They will be joined by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, a robust and integral champion of the arena. Chase Center is set to open in time for the 2019-2020 NBA season.
“Chase Center and the surrounding area will serve as a destination for the entire community and we will continue to work to make sure it is the best experience possible for everyone to enjoy NBA basketball, concerts, family shows, conventions and more,” Welts, the team president, said. “We have been looking forward to this day since we first had the vision of building a privately financed state-of-the-art sports and entertainment complex in San Francisco and are excited for what this will bring to the city of San Francisco and the entire Bay Area community.”
As Golden State of Mind has chronicled, it has been a painstaking process to get to this point. The franchise bought an option on the land in April 2014 (scrapping their original proposal), officially purchasing the complete twelve acres of land from Salesforce in 2015; to direct the project, veteran stadium management executive Stephen Collins was brought in from Madison Square Garden. The Warriors partnered with the University of California-San Francisco and the Mayor’s Office to sign a memorandum of understanding between the parties regarding traffic and congestion. City agencies, including the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure and San Francisco Board of Supervisors, had to sign off on all aspects of the momentous enterprise. As the process moved forward, the team signed a naming rights deal (thought to be among the largest ever) with J.P. Morgan Chase to name the arena Chase Center. Late last year, partnerships with United and Accenture for those firms to become the official airline and technology innovation partner, respectively, of the franchise came to fruition as well.
The Mission Bay Alliance was a thorn in the franchise’s side, bringing multiple lawsuits designed to halt and slow the arena from being built — resulting in a pushback of a projected arena opening from the year 2018 to the current projection of 2019. The Warriors’ legal team defeated the M.B.A. in district court in the summer; in late November, the M.B.A.’s appeal was unanimously denied by three justices on the First Appellate Court of Appeals. The Mission Bay Alliance last week filed a petition for the California Supreme Court to review the case. However, considering that the review rate of the state supreme court is just five percent, according to a report in Plaintiff Magazine by attorneys Daniel Smith and Valerie McGinty, and all four judges that have thus far ruled on this issue have done so in favor of the Warriors, the odds are slim-to-none that their prayer will be answered by the court. The courtroom drama is likely over.
“This new venue will not only ensure our beloved Warriors remain in the Bay Area, but it will fill a void in San Francisco’s portfolio of arts and events facilities,” said Mayor Lee. “It will provide enormous economic benefits, including thousands of new jobs ... and the Warriors are doing it the right way — financing this arena entirely without public funding.”
Chase Center will be be the only completely privately-financed arena in the modern era of United States professional sports.
“With the construction of this new venue,” Welts said, “we’re making sure the Warriors will be the Bay Area’s team for the next 50 years and beyond.”