OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Golden State Warriors team president Rick Welts said during an interview Friday the team will be pushing back the planned opening of its San Francisco arena to the Fall 2019 due to lawsuits by arena opponents.
Welts was speaking to Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News for his sports podcast ‘The TK Show’ on Friday when he made the announcement.
“Today, we’re officially announcing that the arena will now open in 2019 instead of 2018 in light of the litigation the Mission Bay Alliance has recently filed,” Welts said.
Last week, a lawsuit was filed against the team and San Francisco to block development of the new arena by the mother of a six-year-old boy with a severe heart condition over fears traffic from the stadium would block access to UCSF Children’s Hospital.
Jennifer Wade, mother of Magnus, along with the Mission Bay Alliance filed the lawsuit on January 7th.
“It’s going to be really a traffic nightmare, maybe not all the time but certainly sometimes. And the thing about medical emergencies is that they happen 365 days a year 24 hours a day,” Wade said.
The alliance—which describes itself as a group of UCSF stakeholders, donors, faculty and physicians—has repeatedly objected to the site for the proposed arena at 16th and Third streets, directly across the street from the UCSF campus, on the grounds that it will create impenetrable traffic around the hospital.
During the interview, Welts expressed confidence that the litigation would only delay the inevitable and that the Warriors would eventually open their new arena in San Francisco.
“We bought into this process three years ago. This is part of the process. Everybody has the right to sue. We accept that, but we’re going to win,” said Welts.
After the news broke, Warriors spokesperson P.J. Johnston released a statement regarding the lawsuit. It read, in part:
“After three years of official review, intense scrutiny and enormous public attention, the arena won approval from 100% of the agencies and commissions it went before. That includes the Board of Supervisors, where our EIR was upheld by a vote of 10-0.”
The anonymous SuperPAC that emerged last year to oppose us failed to rally the community to their cause. They also failed to persuade the planning experts and regulators, and they lost every vote. Now, the SuperPAC’s last resort is to bring a CEQA lawsuit. It’s unfortunate, but in California, everyone has that right.
We’re very confident that we will prevail in court, just as we have prevailed throughout the public planning process, and in the court of public opinion.
The only thing this lawsuit will accomplish will be to waste everyone’s time, delay all the jobs and economic activity the arena will bring, and line the pockets of a bunch of lawyers.”
The Mission Bay Alliance is not only concerned with the Warriors 18,000-seat arena but the office and retail space planned there as well.
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