SANTA CRUZ -- Crews on Thursday began lifting into place the steel structure that will become the Santa Cruz Warriors arena.
The first of six sections was raised to a 52-foot apex without a hitch. But the second was not.
About 12:30 p.m., as crews used a crane to hoist the 175-foot-long piece in anticipation of bolting the moving parts together, it buckled when hinges that were supposed to connect didn't link.
No one was injured as the steel erector set-like pieces collapsed. Crews were able to lower the piece to the ground hours later and evaluate what happened.
Warriors President Jim Weyermann said a structural engineer has assured him the repairs will be minor and won't keep the temporary 30,000-square-foot facility from opening for the team's first home game Dec. 23. New connector rods that were damaged will be replaced and crews expect to resume work at noon Friday.
"It was probably due to human error," Weyermann said, adding, "We won't make that mistake again."
It was too early to say how much the setback might cost. As soon as the structure is in place, crews can put the fabric roof on and position the insulated walls.
The city has struck a seven-year deal with the Development League of the Oakland-based Golden State Warriors that involves a city loan of $4 million to underwrite the $5.4 million cost of the projected arena. The Warriors have fronted all costs -- $1.2 million for the foundation and $1 million to $1.5 million parts -- because the city won't disperse the funds until a lease agreement with the landowner is done.
The city faces a Nov. 15 deadline to complete the agreement with the Santa Cruz Seaside Co., which owns the 1.5 acre lot at 140 Front St. The city will be considered in default of its agreement with the Warriors, though Weyermann guaranteed the team isn't going anywhere given the company's investment to date.
"We're going to open on Dec. 23 and we're at 800 season tickets right now and my guess is we will be 1,000 to 1,100 by the time we open," Weyermann said.
The city's top official repeated assurances first made last week about the delayed deal with Seaside Co., which involves moving some of the Beach Boardwalk owner's employee parking downtown and the Warriors making annual lease payments.
"Everyone is aware of the deadline and is working to meet it," City Manager Martín Bernal said. "In any case, the timing of the ground lease execution is not expected to impact the project schedule."
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