The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider whether to approve an agreement between the city and organizers of the America’s Cup sailing race that will have long-term implications for the city’s waterfront.
The agreement, under which race organizers would rebuild aging piers in exchange for the rights to develop various pieces of waterfront property, was forwarded to the full board in a 2-1 vote by the budget and finance committee last week.
Preliminary races related to the America’s Cup are scheduled to start this August, with the finals set for September 2013.
San Francisco was named the host city after Oracle CEO Larry Ellison won the previous America’s Cup in 2010, giving him the right to choose the location of the next contest.
City officials negotiated an agreement with Ellison and other race organizers in December 2010. Talks are still under way about which piers and properties will be included in the deal.
Race organizers had sought Pier 29, located near Telegraph Hill, as part of the deal but they relented before last week’s committee hearing.
While the city had pushed for more concessions, including local hiring by contractors working on the project, Stephen Barclay, who is leading negotiations for the America’s Cup Event Authority, said at Wednesday’s committee hearing that race organizers are “not prepared to go any further.”
Organizers say construction schedules require the board to approve the agreement no later than Tuesday, but Supervisor John Avalos, the lone member of the committee to vote against sending the deal to the full board, said he wants more time.
Meanwhile, Mayor Ed Lee today is putting pressure on both sides to get the deal done.
The mayor is touring port infrastructure improvements at Piers 30 and 32 this morning and will hold a roundtable discussion on the benefits of hosting the race. Lee has also scheduled a 1 p.m. announcement about the America’s Cup.
City officials estimate that the race will bring in more than $1 billion to the city and create thousands of jobs. Critics of the plan have said those estimates are inflated and that race attendance projections are too high.
On Friday, a group called Watefront Watch sued the city over the certification of the project’s environmental impact report, alleging the report is insufficient.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News