Warriors’ arena plan follows Giants’ successful ballpark model
If San Francisco solely had followed the advice of economic consultants when making land-use decisions, rather than seeking a balance of public uses, biotech and other commercial and residential uses, Mission Bay likely would be offices, retail, an auto mall — and no housing.
Economic consultants, after all, agree that commercial uses bring more revenue to local government than housing or public-serving projects. That, however, is no argument that another office development in Mission Bay would be better for the city than the proposed Warriors’ arena.
We are fortunate that San Francisco took a different approach when planning Mission Bay decades ago. First, the Giants (unlike their counterparts elsewhere in the country), figured out how to use private dollars to build a ballpark, employ thousands of people and field a championship team. As a result, 15 years ago AT&T Park became an economic engine for Mission Bay and the city. Second, the city partnered with UCSF to develop a second campus in the city that incubated our life sciences industry.
Now, the Giants’ plans for a mixed-use development south of its ballpark and the Warriors’ proposed privately financed mixed-use project would continue that development model. This would benefit Mission Bay, the residents of the Bayview/Third Street corridor and the city’s visitor industry.
The Warriors’ proposed event center is estimated to create 2,700 full-time jobs, and up to an additional 1,100 well-paying jobs on event days. The design includes a covered arena and event center, life science/office buildings, and retail and open space to serve nearby employees and residents. The cost to the public? A one-time $55.3 million investment in transit improvements that will serve the entire southeast side of the city.
Those improvements will be paid for from project fees and an on-going revenue stream from the Warriors’ mixed-use development. San Francisco’s independent controller estimates that, after these capital and transit operating expenses are met, an additional $5.4 million a year will go into the city’s general fund and charter-established special funds, such as the Library, Children’s and Open Space funds.
San Francisco is the largest U.S. city without a modern event center. The Warriors’ project can provide the city with economic and social benefits and assure a world-class home for our champion NBA franchise — all without the significant public investment that was needed for similar projects in New York, Sacramento, Orlando and Oklahoma City.
The Warriors’ proposed event center project is as sweet as a Stephen Curry three-pointer — a win for economic development, a win for the visitor industry and a win for the workers and residents of Mission Bay.
By Bob Linscheid and Dennis Conaghan
Bob Linscheid is the president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. Dennis Conaghan is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Center for Economic Development.
**This piece was originally published as an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle on Saturday, November 20. View the op-ed here.