Reporting Dennis O’Donnell
KPIX 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell hosts “Gameday” every Sunday night at 11:30pm on KPIX 5 and offers his unique sports analysis here.
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Golden State Warriors president Rick Welts stopped by KPIX on Wednesday for an informal gathering with station personnel. The sixty minutes were dominated by discussion about the proposed new area on Piers 30-32.
He was peppered with questions about traffic, view obstruction, over budget expenses on the deteriorating piers, opposition, city government, etc., etc. It sounded just like a meeting with Larry Baer pre-AT&t park. And Welts sounded just as prepared. He said he lives near AT&T Park and that sometimes he feels like a fish swimming against the current. He doesn’t have the answer for the potential traffic which will be compounded when the Giants and Warriors play at the same time. (A rare occurrence as evidenced by the A’s and Warriors). Welts added that the Warriors hope to entertain 200 events annually in the arena.
But here’s the bottom line: There is a dilapidated pier out there that the Warriors are willing to fix and construct a state-of-the-art arena that the city has never had. They are willing to pick up the $1 billion-plus tab and turn the eye sore into a unique arena that will include a park and stores. If the Warriors are rejected, what’s next?
Sure, I’m a sports guy. But I look at the this as purely common sense business. If somebody wants to increase my property values I’m all in. Despite anti-ballpark activists who tried to derail the baseball stadium, the place revitalized the South of Market Area. AT&T is a hub of activity and a financial boon for San Francisco. I’ll admit there are times when I’ve been stuck in ballpark traffic and utter words not printable in this blog. But then I look at the building in awe and wonder if there’s a better baseball park in America.
One significant difference between AT&T and the Warriors arena is that when the baseball park was built there were no views to block. Can you imagine trying to pass that brick facade through today with tall the surrounding condos and restaurants? The Warriors arena will be about 12 stories high and set back on the pier to minimize obstruction. It’s certain to have an effect on existing views, just as game days will have an impact on traffic.
But as good as the hamburgers are, how long can you look at Red’s Java House?
See you on TV.
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