Very early-stage plans for a Downtown San Francisco soccer stadium on the site of the beleaguered former Westfield Centre mall have been obtained by The Standard.
The renderings are conceptual and likely far from what a finished product may look like, but they provide a window into a possible future for the mall, as its behemoth Nordstrom store closes on Sunday. Westfield itself pulled out of the mall in June.
Numerous stores have closed in San Francisco's Downtown core, many of which cited unsafe conditions in the area. The new Ikea store that opened nearby Wednesday on Market Street announced in April that the store will feature round-the-clock security.
San Francisco officials and architectural firm Gensler are working on the preliminary plans and feasibility study for the soccer stadium.
Mayor London Breed spoke briefly on the soccer stadium plans during a meeting at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. Previously, Breed touted the idea of turning the mall into lab space.
"We want to give people an understanding of what could happen and get a developer and others excited about making investments into the stadium as a way to diversify what happens in the Downtown area," Breed said.
Breed added she is discussing transit options with BART and Muni, as well as potential FIFA matches—the World Cup is coming to the Bay Area in 2026.
"In Chase Center, we have about 18,000 seats there, and this could maybe serve up to about [25,000], or even more," Breed said of the stadium.
"These are some early conceptual renderings by Gensler as part of its feasibility study solely for testing purposes," a Gensler spokesperson said Wednesday.
San Francisco does not currently have a major league soccer team, but it has several prominent pre-professional teams, the International San Francisco Soccer Club, the San Francisco Glens Soccer Club and the San Francisco City Football Club. The San Jose Earthquakes are the closest major league soccer team.
Women's soccer is also exploding in the Bay Area, with Bay Football Club announced in June for the National Women’s Soccer League and eight new teams announced for Northern California in the USL W League in December last year.
"The prospect of any new soccer stadium being built in San Francisco proper is an exciting one, as we are currently building one in our own right at Treasure Island," said Ryan Maquiñana, a spokesperson for the Glens. "With the World Cup coming to the Bay Area in 2026, to build anything viable within the city limits amid the lack of real estate would really demonstrate how much soccer has risen here."
However, members of City Football Club's Board of Directors were less receptive to the idea of a new stadium in San Francisco.
"We're excited when soccer becomes a subject of interest in the city. However, we think a stadium to replace Westfield Centre is the wrong answer," the board said. "This past season, we played home matches at Kezar Stadium and Boxer Stadium, both of which are very accessible, have lots of history and could benefit from a renovation."