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Golden State Warriors San Francisco Stadium Deal Could Transform City's Waterfront

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Notably absent from the San Francisco Giants' $1.6 billion announcement last week was any mention of a previously rumored use for the space--a shiny, new area for a Golden State Warriors.

The San Francisco Chronicle's mustache investigation squad revealed on Monday that the now Oakland-based NBA franchise is instead eying another spot, about half a mile north, on Piers 30 and 32.

"This is an ownership group that is pretty bold and visionary, and the prospect of doing something grand is really alluring to them," an unnamed source familiar with the plans told the Chronicle.

The site, currently a parking lot adjacent to legendary Giants pre-game necessity Red's Java House, requires some $50 million in renovations on top of the $8 million that the city has already agreed to spend fixing up the piers so they can be used as bases for the small handful of teams competing in the 2012-13 America's Cup.

Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber have been talking about moving the Warriors out of Oracle Arena (the oldest in the NBA) virtually from the moment they purchased the team in 2010. Late last year, Lee set up a meeting between Warriors ownership and Giants CEO Larry Baer. Both the Baer and Lee were bullish on the project; however, the Warriors reportedly balked on concerns about the Giants serving as middlemen on the deal.

Despite his enthusiasm, San Francisco's typically pro-development mayor put his foot down, saying if the Warriors wanted to build a stadium in the city, they'd have to pay for it out of their own pockets.

While most professional sports stadiums around the country are built, at least partially, with government assistance, local public support for such a move has historically been mixed at best. While a pair of votes to give the Giants public money for a bayfront stadium in the late 1980s fizzled, the public narrowly approved a $100 million bond to help finance a Candlestick Point stadium/shopping complex for the 49ers that later fell apart.

When the Giants built AT&T park entirely with private money, they were the first team to do so since the 1960s.
"If there's anything I've learned, it's that sports teams are also businesses, and they want to be successful as well," Lee told the San Francisco Examiner during an economic forum in Oakland earlier this year. "The Giants have been extremely successful owning their own stadium."

If the Warriors do move to San Francisco, it would be a homecoming of sorts. During the decade prior to moving to the East Bay in the early 1970s, the team was known as the San Francisco Warriors and played home games at the San Francisco Civic Center and the Cow Palace in nearby Daly City.

The Warriors would likely be looking at having a new stadium ready by start of the 2017-18 season, when the team's lease at Oracle Arena finally ends.

The Warriors aren't the Oakland sports franchise with one foot out the door. The A's recently considered a move Fremont and are now hoping to bring "moneyball" to Silicon Valley, although a bitter territorial dispute with the Giants is making progress on that front difficult. There's also some speculation that the Raiders could move back to Los Angeles because, even though Al Davis may be gone, his spirit still lives on.

However, beleaguered Oakland Mayor Jean Quan pledged to do all she could to save professional sports in her city. "We want to make it absolutely clear we want to save and keep all three teams in Oakland," she told the San Francisco Business Times at press conference last December. "We are talking to the Raiders and Warriors and we are working as hard as we can to make sure Oakland remains the home of three sports entities."

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Filed by Aaron Sankin