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Chase Center breaks ground in San Francisco
The arena will be home to the Golden State Warriors—and elevate Mission Bay
When the Golden State Warriors set out to build a state-of-the-art home on San Francisco's waterfront, they took inspiration from recent efforts by other teams. They looked at what the Nets were able to build in Brooklyn and at the ways Milwaukee and Sacramento are planning revitalized downtowns around new arenas.
That dream is becoming a reality, as the Warriors broke ground on January 17th for the new Chase Center in Mission Bay. The 11 acre site will be home to the arena, a five and half acre waterfront park as well as offices, restaurants, stores and open space.
Mission Bay is a long-ignored stretch that's now home to an extensive medical, research and academic campus for the University of California San Francisco. The Chase Center will be an anchor of activity. In addition to Warriors games, Chase Center will host concerts, family entertainment, corporate gatherings and other events all year long. It's slated to open in 2019.
"This is a great example of our commitment to the Bay Area and how important this market is to us," says Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase. "The Bay Area is a beacon for technology, innovation and education, and we expect that Chase Center will become a beacon of great art, culture, sports and entertainment for this great community."
"From day one, we said we wanted to build the Madison Square Garden of the West," says Rick Welts, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Warriors, , who spent 17 years in New York as an executive in the NBA's league offices. And he wanted that arena's partner, JPMorgan Chase & Co., involved in the new San Francisco project.
"Having watched what they've done with the relationship they have with Madison Square Garden and what they've brought to the table to make it a better consumer experience," he says, "they understand how music, sports and family shows can be a great brand association and add value to their customers."
The Warriors left San Francisco for Oakland in the early 1970s but about half of the season ticket holders currently come from each side of San Francisco Bay. And with thousands of people having paid to hold spots on a waiting list for season tickets (now up to 34,000), the team expects to keep selling out its games as it has for every home game since December 2012.
A much needed arena
Even though San Francisco is a major metropolitan area, it doesn't have a closed arena that can seat more than 10,000 people. AT&T Park, where the Giants play, is open air and is limited in its use outside of baseball games, due to noise restrictions and weather.
The new arena will hold 18,000 people and will host 41 regular-season games, in addition to any pre-season or playoffs games. Since it's closed, it can also host major musical acts, conventions, as well as NCAA games, bringing in millions in revenue for the city.
All about the fan
The Warriors will be moving from their long-time home across the Bay in Oakland, but it will actually be easier for fans to see them play at Chase Center.
"The new arena will be richly served by mass transit," says PJ Johnston, a spokesperson for the project. Mission Bay already has easy access stops via Muni, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Caltrain, and there is a light rail that stops directly in front of the arena, Johnston says. The city is also investing in bike share programs and will have ample, secure bike parking.
Fans who live or work in the vicinity of the Financial District, just north of Mission Bay, will be able to walk to Chase Center. A new subway line now under construction will link the arena and UCSF to downtown hotels and convention centers and to subway and commuter rail lines that serve the entire the Bay Area.
An addition to the community
Johnston says that part of the appeal of Chase Center is the uniqueness of the project. It's the first arena ever built on private land that will also be financed privately, thanks to the partnership with JPMorgan Chase. No tax payer money will be used to build it.
Also, since the 11-acre site has been undeveloped and empty for decades, no local residents were displaced in order to build it.
"There is large community support behind the project," he says. “It's going to bring thousands of good paying jobs to the area, as well as much needed restaurants, cafes, small businesses and shops.”
Pauline Millard is a Chase News contributor.