America’s Cup agreement in flux 

A second look at the complex development deal that would bring the America’s Cup yacht race to San Francisco yielded a few key changes to the agreement Wednesday.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu announced that Pier 29 – a contentious part of the deal involving development of prime property near Telegraph Hill – has been taken out of the agreement. What will take its place is undetermined, but could include an alternative pier or a cash payment of $12.3 million, plus inflation, by the Port of San Francisco.

Supervisors also wanted a cap on the amount the Event Authority would be able to spend on pier investments. Supervisor David Campos said last week there is a dangerous incentive for the Event Authority to spend more, because The City must pay back the investments beyond $55 million with 11-percent interest.
But an intricate cap agreed upon this week doesn’t include a hard dollar amount, leaving Campos unsatisfied.

“Why not just have a definitive specific amount that says you cannot be reimbursed for anything beyond this amount?” Campos asked.

Campos asked Stephen Barclay, the chief operating officer of the Event Authority, if he would sign a waiver protecting The City from litigation over repayment definitions under the new cap. But Barclay didn’t agree to that, only saying that he doesn’t see a lawsuit as a likely event, given the planned long-term relationship with San Francisco.

Barclay added that the Event Authority’s patience on compromise is wearing thin.

“The Event Authority is not prepared to go any further,” Barclay said. “We have gone far enough.”

As of press time Wednesday, the the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee was still discussing whether The City is facing too much risk in its agreement to let the America’s Cup Event Authority pour millions into fixing crumbling piers in exchange for development rights and long-term leases to desirable waterfront property.

After nearly six hours of discussing the matter, supervisors voted to move the agreement forward to the full board, although they still want major aspects of the deal changed, including commitments to hire local workers, assurances on fundraising to cover The City's costs of putting on the race and a portion of condo sales on Port property for San Francisco's general fund.

Race-related costs

$300 million total cost of America’s Cup regatta

$52 million cost to The City (assumes $20 million in hotel and sales tax revenue)

$12.5 million raised so far by nonprofit arm of the race in pledges from donors and business arm of race

$12.3 million value of Pier 29, recently struck from deal

SOURCE: America’s Cup Event Authority

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