Lawsuit delays Warriors’ moving plans

The Golden State Warriors will delay their move from Oakland to San Francisco by at least a year due to litigation from a group opposed to a proposed Mission Bay arena site, the team announced Friday.

Team officials said they remained confident they would prevail in court, but in order to fight the lawsuits filed by the Mission Bay Alliance, they would need to delay their planned move from Oakland’s Oracle Arena to a new 18,000-seat arena in San Francisco by a season.

Team spokesman P.J. Johnston said in a statement:

“It’s disappointing, it’s wasteful, it’s harmful to the workers and small businesses and neighbors in Mission Bay who are counting on this new venue, but the reality is we’re now looking at opening the sports and entertainment center in 2019.”

The team won unanimous approval of the privately-funded arena at 16th and Third streets from the Board of Supervisors in December, despite vocal opposition from the Mission Bay Alliance, a group that Johnston described today as an “anonymous SuperPAC.”

The alliance, which describes itself as a group of University of California at San Francisco stakeholders, donors, faculty and physicians, has argued that the project will create major traffic delays around UCSF’s new Mission Bay campus and hospital, blocking ambulances and endangering patients.

The group has filed two lawsuits since the project’s approval.

One, filed last month in Alameda County Superior Court, alleges that UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood did not have authority to negotiate an agreement with the Warriors over the project, and that he failed to negotiate in the university’s best interests. Hawgood and officials with the Warriors announced a memorandum of understanding on the project on Oct. 6, just days before Warriors officials finalized the purchase of the land for the arena from Salesforce.

The second, filed in Sacramento Superior Court last week, alleges San Francisco city officials violated state environmental review laws by failing to properly consider alternative locations and environmental impacts on traffic, air quality and noise.

Mission Bay Alliance Sam Singer today called the delay a “victory” for the group and for city residents:

“We hope the city will use this one year delay to select a better site that will avoid further gridlock in San Francisco and protect the Mission Bay medical and biotechnology community.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf today said that she would work to support the Warriors:

“…by making sure they know how proud it makes us to have them call Oakland home. We are thrilled every day that they get to play on our side of the Bay. … Because they have always been a regional team, they will always belong to Oakland and be welcomed here, regardless of the outcome of this lawsuit.”

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who has publicly backed the Warriors arena project in his city, could not be reached for comment this evening.