The Golden State Warriors are the pride of California. Three time championship victors in the last few years, the team was rewarded with a brand new stadium. Chase Center, the arena in the Mission Bay neighborhood in San Francisco, is the brand new home of the Warriors. This new stadium was a necessary evolution for the team, who had been playing at Oakland’s Oracle Center since 1971. The Chase Center opened on September 6th, 2019.
The arena is composed of a multitude of layers and floors and has a seating capacity of 18,064. Not only that but its multi-purpose arena includes a theater configuration with an entrance overlooking a lovely park newly built for the arena. Although the parking is limited to 950 spaces and is easily accessible by public transportation using various local buses, a light rail is currently under construction that will link the arena as well as UCSF to central districts in the Bay Area. With a high investment of $1 billion, Chase Center anchors a district of 11 acres of restaurants, cafes, offices, public plazas and a waterfront park.
The plan for the area was announced in May 2012 at a Warriors press conference. The conference was attended by the then San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, former NBA Commissioner David Stern, ex-Governor Gavin Newsom, as well as the team owners, various staff members and city officials.
The initial idea was to privately finance a $500 million 17,000 seat area along Pier 30-32, located near Oracle Park and the San Francisco Ferry Building. However, a month after the proposal, the South Beach-Rincon-Million Bay Neighborhood Association was critical towards the site and said that a second major league sports venue in the neighborhood would ruin the family friendly aspect of the area. Ex-Mayor Art Agnos started to get involved, speaking at dozens of community gatherings in opposition, pointing out that this particular location would severely impact traffic that is already challenging in that area, along with the picturesque views offered by the neighborhood.
Things moved quickly, and in December 2013, a ballot proposition called the Waterfront Height Limit Right to Vote Act was submitted to the city of San Francisco. The initiative made it on the June 2014 ballot as proposition B. Finally on April 19th, 2014 the Warriors abandoned the plans for the pier site and instead purchased a 12-acre site at the Mission Bay location. The arena was privately financed and was designed and built by MANICA Architecture. Construction began in January 2017.
Unfortunately, the Mission Bay site also had its fair share of opposition, going against the Mission Bay Alliance. The community organization pointed out that traffic would impact the area on game days, as well as the lack of parking spaces and general use of space that could instead be used to expand UCSF. Representatives of the new Chase Arena worked hard to address these issues, though the actual methods remain unknown.
The arena held its grand opening in fanfare, with a concert by Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony. The first pre-season game will be played on October 5th, 2019 against the Los Angeles Lakes. Their regular season game will be played against the Clippers in October 24th.
Even though the new arena was well deserved, it created a great deal of controversy in the city of San Francisco. In addition, there was a sense of betrayal to long term fans, who felt that by moving from Oakland to San Francisco they were encouraging the gentrification currently plaguing the Bay Area.