WARRIORS | New home could be ‘Madison Square Garden of West’

There are a lot of questions around the Golden State Warriors’ planned 18,000-seat arena in Mission Bay, and Steve Collins has a lot of answers.

Collins was hired this summer as chief operating officer of GSW Arena LLC, the Warriors’ facility company, overseeing all operations for the arena as well as the office and retail parts planned for the 12-acre site. The lifetime East Coast resident comes to the Oakland franchise after 13 years with The Madison Square Garden Co.

In his final role with Madison Square Garden, as vice president of facilities, he oversaw the Garden complex — including a three-year, $1 billion renovation completed in 2013 — as well as Radio City Music Hall, the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., and the Beacon and Chicago theaters. But Collins’ MSG work included all facility operations as well as finance and construction.

That experience is key as the Warriors go from a tenant at Oracle Arena, which is owned by Oakland and Alameda County, to an operator of what’s destined to be a major regional entertainment center.

Then there is the overhanging challenge to San Francisco’s environmental impact report for the arena by an apparently well-funded set of University of California, San Francisco, benefactors and employees. The group, which is not connected to UCSF, could take its concerns about parking and traffic congestion to the Board of Supervisors and the courts.

Those are matters outside of Collins’ control. But, he said, he subscribes to Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber‘s philosophy: The Warriors will overcome challenges and the arena will be built in Mission Bay. He spoke with me recently about the various operational issues ahead for the Warriors.

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