Warriors challenged in court over new arena

Attorneys for the Mission Bay Alliance argued against the construction of a proposed Golden State Warriors arena and event center in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood Friday during a one-day trial in San Francisco Superior Court.

The lawsuit was filed by the alliance, SaveMuni and a mother whose 6-year-old who is a patient at the nearby University of California at San Francisco Children’s Hospital against The City’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, contending that the area around the proposed site would not be able to support a venue of its size, citing noise, air quality and traffic problems.

The 11-acre project would be located at 16th and Third streets, just across the street from the hospital and close to AT&T Park.

In addition to the 18,000-seat event center, the project would also include 600,000 square feet of office space, creating more traffic in the already congested area and preventing hospital patients from receiving life-saving treatment, according to the alliance.

The lawsuit accuses the OCII of hastily approving the project, overlooking and ignoring state environmental regulations designed to protect residents against pollution, traffic and noise issues.

Defense attorneys for the OCII said the office did everything it was required to do before the project was approved, such as preparing a subsequent Environmental Impact Report, which tiered off previous EIRs from both 1990 and 1998, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act.

The alliance contended the reports are outdated and that a new environmental report must be prepared, in addition to proposing other possible sites for the project.

Outside the courtroom, plaintiff Jennifer Wade said she was concerned the venue would prevent access to the newly-built children’s hospital. Wade is a frequent visitor of the nearby UCSF hospital as her son was born with a congenital heart defect:

“He has emergencies from time to time and I need to get him to UCSF in a timely manner. I’m just picturing what’s going to happen if that’s in the lead-up to a Warriors game or a Beyonce concert or some other event; especially if it’s happening at the same time as an event at AT&T Park, the traffic is already pretty bad over there.”

Wade, who lives just two miles from the hospital, said it’s the only one equipped with specialists that can treat her son.

“That’s the only hospital that I can take my son too in an emergency. Other hospitals don’t understand his condition; they don’t even have pediatric cardiologists on staff at other children’s emergency hospitals. It’s a pretty rare complication that he has.”

After hearing both sides of the suit, Judge Garret Wong said he would make a ruling by July 18.

Earlier this week, Judge Wong approved a request to add SaveMuni, an association of transit activists, environmentalists and community members, to the lawsuit. SaveMuni spokesman Jerry Cauthen called the lawsuit “critically important,” citing transportation impacts to not just Mission Bay, but to downtown as well.

The lawsuit was filed earlier this year in Sacramento County Superior court, after San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the project in December.

Warriors spokesman P.J. Johnston said in a statement in January, adding the team planned on opening the venue by 2019:

“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.”

The alliance, which describes itself as a group of UCSF stakeholders, donors, faculty and physicians, also filed another lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court, alleging UCSF Chancellor Sam Hagwood did not have authority to negotiate in the university’s best interest in a memorandum of understanding with the Warriors because he did not seek approval from the UC Board of Regents.