America's Cup could send Teatro ZinZanni packing from waterfront location 

Teatro ZinZanni will have to take a cue from the limber gymnasts who wow their audiences: If they want to stay on waterfront property, they’ll have to be flexible, according to Port officials.

The nonprofit dinner cabaret theater, a popular waterfront destination for visitors to The City, has had a home at Pier 27 for close to a decade. But it’s among the 80 businesses on port property that will likely be forced to move to make way for the America’s Cup yacht race, scheduled for 2013.

The theater’s managers have said they’d like to stay — or if they must move, they want to move to somewhere else on the touristy northern waterfront. But Port of San Francisco officials have said that while they plan to work with all tenants to help them find new homes, there does not appear to be a vacant space on the northern waterfront large enough to fit ZinZanni’s needs.

Port Special Projects Manager Brad Benson said the only spaces large enough to fit their operation north of the Ferry Building are parking lots — many of which were just leased to new operators. He noted that with the America’s Cup plan, the Port will lose four full piers on the northern waterfront, and it won’t be possible to find homes on Port property in the immediate vicinity for all of their tenants.

“If we’re going to find new spaces for these tenants being displaced by the America’s Cup, it’s going to be a guiding principle that we don’t displace other tenants to do that,” Benson said.

“We’d be happy to show them locations that are not in this immediate area, or facilitate a conversation with other city departments or commercial real estate agents.”

Benson said the Port has already informed many of its tenants that relocation may be necessary, and is in the process of reaching out to many of them to discuss relocation options.

In the case of Teatro ZinZanni, the Port informed them even before the America’s Cup bid came about that relocation would be necessary, because that property was already slated to be developed into an international cruise terminal.

But ZinZanni spokeswoman Karen Ames said theater officials were “surprised and disappointed” by the news that they’ll have to move.

“We know San Francisco loves Teatro ZinZanni, there’s no doubt about that,” she said. “We’re a jewel in The City’s nonprofit arts crown. And we’re hopeful The City is going to work with us in looking at lots of new locations and find one that works.

“Losing arts institutions is not something that San Francisco wants to do.”

Just what is Teatro ZinZanni?

Teatro ZinZanni bills itself as a “bewitching evening of European Cabaret and Cirque, Divas and Madmen, Spectacle and Sensuality with Live Music and a Gourmet Five-Course Dinner — set in the nightclub of your dreams!”

Prices: $117 to $195 a ticket
Box office: (415) 438-2668

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