April 03 2013

New Stadium Raises Questions for San Francisco’s Waterfront

For San Franciscans, the imminent departure of the 49ers (a National Football League team founded in San Francisco in 1946) to Santa Clara, California this year is an enormous disappointment. In addition to enjoying a storied and successful history in San Francisco, the 49ers advanced to the Superbowl (the NFL championship game) in the 2012-2013 season, their first appearance since 1994.

However, another rising sports team has brightened up the city’s horizon – not only for sports, but also for the city’s developing waterfront. On May 22, 2012, San Francisco mayor Ed Lee announced that the Golden State Warriors, a National Basketball Association team, would be building a new sports arena and entertainment center that would open on the waterfront in 2017. The Warriors would be moving across the bay from Oakland, as their current lease with the Oracle Arena is due to expire at the same time.

Architect's Rendering of New Stadium & Entertainment Center

Architect's Rendering of Plazas

The concept for the stadium, released in February, is quite an ambitious project. First, Piers 30-32 (which are actually just one enormous dock) must be rehabilitated and strengthened to support the new development – an estimated $100 million effort. The stadium, designed by architects from Snohetta, will stand 135 feet tall, seat 17,500 fans, and provide 630 parking spots – an estimated $500 million effort. In addition to the stadium, the new landscape design of the piers features 8 acres of terraced plazas that allow for views, kayaking, water transit docks, and numerous retail buildings. All in all, the project will cost an estimated $1 billion.

New Entertainment Center & Stadium Plan

With a 66-year lease on the piers, the new stadium and entertainment center will leave a lasting impact on the image of San Francisco’s waterfront. The project is much less about a new arena and much more about the regional image of the bay. It will come under incredible scrutiny, and must overcome enormous obstacles in its approval process.

Do you know of any similarly ambitious stadium projects in your city/country?

What effect do you think stadiums have on the image of their respective cities?

Credits: Images courtesy of Huffington Post. Data linked to sources.

Steven Chang

Steven Chang was a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area and held a B.A. in Urban Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. His interest in urban planning began in his hometown of Rowland Heights, California (near Los Angeles), when he noticed that his community, a predominantly ethnic suburb, was very different from other cities he had traveled to. He was very interested in every aspect of urban planning, especially in the way people influence and are influenced by the city fabric. He hoped to one day pursue a Masters of Urban Planning, focusing on economic development and housing. He was also very excited to bring the bustling activity of the San Francisco Bay Area to The Grid!

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013 at 9:55 am and is filed under Architecture, Blogging Team, Environmental Design, Land Use, Landscape Architecture, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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