San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, city officials and members of the Oracle Racing crew gathered at Pier 27 Friday morning to commemorate the early stages of construction on the America’s Cup spectator village.

Construction on Pier 27, which will feature a 10,000-seat amphitheater and will serve as the start and finish line for races on the Bay, is scheduled for completion by February, in time for the Louis Vuitton Cup race from July 4 to Sept. 1, 2013.

The America’s Cup finals will take place from Sept. 7 to Sept. 22, 2013.

Lee signed the agreement for the city to host the 34th America’s Cup, which the Oracle Racing team captain, Sir Russell Coutts, said he expected to be remembered as “the San Francisco America’s Cup” because of the access the public will have to the races.

Coutts, the winningest skipper in the competition’s history with four victories, said San Francisco promises to deliver an unprecedented America’s Cup experience because of its unparalleled waterfront and sailing conditions.

San Francisco’s “natural stadium,” with its strong winds and open waterfront, “is the perfect sailing stadium,” he said.

Aside from the amphitheater, at pit row, which will be located south of the Bay Bridge at Pier 30/32, spectators will be able to get a close glimpse of the sailors, boats and international teams.

“Never in the history of the sport has there been such an extraordinary opportunity to bring competitive sailing to the people,” said Coutts, who also called the upcoming races the “most fan-friendly” in the event’s 161-year history.

“It’s blown away the stuffiness,” Coutts said.

The event is also expected to have a lasting effect on the Bay Area’s economy, infusing as much as $1 billion into local businesses and services as more than 1 million spectators descend on the waterfront.

“The America’s Cup will bring new life, new amenities and new excitement to San Francisco’s waterfront,” Lee said.

Patricia Decker, Bay City News

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