A Superior Court judge ruled today against a coalition of UCSF benefactors and former officials who questioned the sufficiency of an environmental review of the Chase Center, a.k.a. the Warriors Arena. The project, due to open in 2019, sits near the hospital's Mission Bay campus, and Judge Garrett L. Wong affirmed in the case Mission Bay Alliance et al. v. Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure et al that the project can continue as planned.
That decision, listed on the court’s docket by Judge Wong Monday afternoon, is being heralded as a victory by City Attorney Dennis Herrera. It's also news that comes just days after a separate blow to the Mission Bay Alliance, the arena-opposing group that appeared on the scene in April of 2015. A coalition of deep-pocketed UCSF donors. officials, and consultants with somewhat vague motivations, the Mission Bay Alliance has cited potential traffic and environmental problems, issues that might be at odds with the work of the hospital. But on Friday, news broke that the group's legal counsel had dropped them as a client and that their public relations head, silver-tongued Sam Singer, had departed his post over "strategic differences."
“The Warriors project is an important civic priority for San Francisco, and I am grateful that the court affirmed the City’s efforts to complete an exhaustive environmental review and planning process, and to successfully win widespread public support," Herrera said in a news release. “The fact is that this worthwhile project has been thoroughly scrutinized under the law, and it has won overwhelming support every step of the way, from all parts of San Francisco including its neighbors. I hope that the decision becomes final soon so that the much-awaited construction of the project can begin.”
The Warriors Arena, which is these days being referred to as the Chase Center thanks to a $200 million or more naming rights deal with JP Morgan Chase & Co., has been granted a clearer path forward by those events and this ruling, though that is still being analyzed and a couple of other cases are still pending in Sacramento, and in Alameda County, both brought by the Mission Bay Alliance.
But it was this case in San Francisco court that caused the Warriors to decide to delay construction of the arena, which initially aimed to be completed by the fall 2018 basketball season.