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Warriors draft NBA exec to navigate arena approvals
Posted On: Sep 14, 2012

The Golden State Warriors are growing the team assigned to address neighborhood and political issues tied to the club’s proposed new arena on San Francisco’s Piers 30-32.

The Warriors hired longtime NBA executive Gail Hunter to be vice president of public affairs and event management. Hunter will lead the team’s community engagement effort in San Francisco as the Warriors seek to alleviate concerns about traffic, crowding and noise in the neighborhoods that border the piers: South Beach, Rincon and Mission Bay.

“It’s important for the Warriors that everyone is heard,” said Hunter.

The Warriors have also hired Doug Boxer as a consultant. Boxer, the politically-connected former Oakland planning commissioner and son of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, will help the team’s arena plans navigate a thicket of government agencies that include the State Lands Commission and San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.

The additions of Hunter and Boxer suggest the Warriors are keenly aware of the sway that San Francisco neighborhoods can have over major real estate proposals.

The city recently named a 16-member community advisory committee — comprised of residents and business owners near Piers 30-32 — that will provide feedback on the proposed development to the Board of Supervisors.

Jane Kim, the supervisor whose district includes the piers, said her support is “contingent on getting community feedback.” The Board of Supervisors, Kim said, will “be open to what residents have to say.”

The Warriors want to relocate to San Francisco from Oakland and build a $500 million waterfront arena. The club said it would also spend about $100 million to renovate the piers, which are in bad shape. The team wants the project completed in time for the 2017 season.

Hunter and Boxer expand a group of Warriors advisers that already includes real estate consultants Jesse Blout and Michael Cohen, former directors of the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, who now run Strada Investment Group. The Warriors have also tapped the legal expertise of Mary Murphy and Neil Sekhri, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP real estate attorneys who have been on the local real estate scene for decades.

The Warriors’ design team, Snøhetta and AECOM, is expected to disclose its design concept to the community advisory committee in the next few weeks, said Rick Welts, Warriors president. The club is interviewing construction firms, but has no timeline for when it will pick a builder.

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