As the Golden State Warriors ownership gears up for a fight with waterfront preservationists on Pier 30-32, the building's designers at Snøhetta have made a few changes to hopefully make the building more attractive to non-basketball fans, including lowering the height just a tad and making the public waterfront park feel like "a smaller version of Dolores Park on the water."
The third version of the design ("Design 3.0") lowers the height of the arena by about 15 feet at the edges and peaks at 125 feet in the middle. It's a move meant to address neighbors' concerns, although most of them probably won't be happy with anything higher than a few reeds of tall grass gently swaying in the bay where that fenced-in parking lot and crumbling pier currently stands. In addition to the changes to the roofline, the plaza itself will slope up to 28 feet tall to accommodate a practice space, an SFFD fire station and a parking garage below grass-covered roofs. All told, the open space accounts for 60% of the 13 acres on piers 30-32. Or, as team spokesman Nathan Ballard told the Chronicle, "enough public open space to fit three Union Squares."
Like the cheapskate viewing area at AT&T Park, the arena will include a spiraling ramp that leads to a window near the top of the structure where ticketless fans can peer in and fans who had to drive in from Oakland to catch a game can gaze out at the traffic on the Bay Bridge. Red's Java House, which Gavin Newsom assured us would be preserved, will be moved to the southwest corner.
Former Mayor Art Agnos has been outspoken about the project, which is probably over budget and he believes is an underhanded attempt by the Warriors ownership and outsiders from LA to build a slick new development on the waterfront. The part of the arena development that often gets overlooked (or not overlooked, if we're making height restriction puns) are the two 105-foot hotels and the 175-foot condo tower being built on Seawall Lot 300, currently a parking lot across the Embarcadero from piers 30-32.
As for the neighbors: retired mortgage broker Lawrence Stokus, apparently couldn't fathom that his rented apartment's view could one day be blocked by a newer apartment building and, as he explains to San Francisco's paper of record, open space doesn't count if it is built on top of something else.