Earlier this week, we were lucky enough to join in on an exclusive tour of the Chase Center with the entire Warriors basketball operations staff.
Joe Lacob, Bob Myers, Steve Kerr, Kirk Lacob and many others put on a hard hat and boots to check out the future home of the franchise.
Here were some of our takeaways from the experience:
1) They have thought of everything, and one key focus is transportation. Brandon Schneider -- the Warriors' Chief Revenue Officer -- showed us via detailed models and simulations exactly how long it will take fans from all over the Bay Area to arrive at the arena (whether you drive or use public transit). The reality is that getting to Chase Center won't take nearly as long as some people may think. In fact -- even for certain fans coming from the East Bay -- the commute will only be a few minutes longer than it currently takes to get to Oracle Arena. Specifically for those who will take BART from the East Bay, your route will be to get off at Powell and then hop on a Muni bus (which you will board below ground) that will drop you off right in front of the arena on 3rd Street. The Muni project is expected to be completed in December 2019 -- two months after the start of the season. The Warriors will have some underground parking beneath the arena, but the area is also littered with lots that take no longer than 10 minutes to walk to and from (How do we know that? They walked it and timed it just for you).
2) People who own season tickets at Oracle are buying up season tickets at Chase Center at an historic rate. Nearly 80 percent of fans who have attended an appointment at the Chase Center Experience (you have to do this, it's awesome) have purchased season tickets. Historically, teams have seen a renewal of 60-65 percent when migrating fans to a new building.
3) The suites are... really sweet. Dumb pun, we know (that was all Grant), but don't let that take away from the extravagance of the luxury suites. They are bigger, newer, fancier and there are more of them than before.
4) Andre Iguodala was the lone Warriors player who joined in on the tour. Yes, he played a lot of golf this summer and his best round may or may not have been 75...
5) We look stupid in hard hats and construction gear. But the guys working on the arena don't, and they are doing a helluva job staying efficient yet safe. In fact, we were told they have had the least amount of injuries ever for a project that big.
6) There will be lots of bars and lounges for fans to enjoy, scattered throughout the arena. The concourses will be bigger, the food will be better, and there is a really cool open lobby in the entry way with a ticket office that resembles a hotel concierge, rather than bank tellers. You won't have your ticket scanned immediately upon entering the building, so you can hang out in the lobby if you are waiting for friends to arrive or if it's raining.
7) The last completely privately funded NBA arena was built for the Utah Jazz in 1991 for about $90 million. The Chase Center will be a little more than that. And by a little, we mean a ton.
8) The Chase Center sits between 3rd Street and what is now South Street. But that won't be the case for much longer. South Street will become "Warriors Way." When it was mentioned that the full address may be "1 Warriors Way," Iguodala quietly suggested "30 Warriors Way." Hmmmmm, not a bad suggestion.
9) Holy s***, the Chase Center is going to be amazing.
10) We talked with Bob Myers and Steve Kerr and here is some of what they had to say:
-Myers: "Joe and the whole crew from the get go were very inclusive as far as what's most important to us. We're not picking out the color of the walls or the seats. But for us, it started out that we wanted two practice courts -- two NBA full courts with the hopes of having at least six baskets. The more baskets, the more space, is better ... easy ingress and egress out of the building for players. You don't want to have a practice facility where guys are so burdened in getting there that they just say, 'I'm not going to the facility. I don't want to workout.' It has to be easy for them to get from the practice facility into the arena, into the weight room, into their locker room -- so just the ease of use really."
-Kerr: "I was here like a year ago and it was kind of a big hole in the ground, and most guys haven't been here since. It's great to see the progress but it's also a reminder that our lives are gonna change and pretty much everybody on the coaching staff is gonna have to move. Sometimes that is exciting and sometimes that's unnerving -- probably a little of both. We're all just sort of watching this thing go up in awe and wondering where we are gonna live and how's this all gonna work, but we''ll figure it out."
Kerr also said that although he recently bought a house in San Francisco, he isn't moving in until next summer. So no, he hasn't mapped out his route to the arena just yet...