America’s Cup still has 'long way' to go 

click to enlarge Race officials expect a new development agreement. - SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • SF Examiner file photo
  • Race officials expect a new development agreement.

America’s Cup officials expect The City to present a new waterfront development agreement today, but negotiators were reportedly far apart as of late Tuesday afternoon.

“If we don’t agree, there are serious questions about the cup being held in San Francisco,” said Stephen Barclay, chief operating officer for the regatta.

The division remains despite a great sense of urgency expressed by race officials, who say preparations need to get under way soon if the event is to be held in San Francisco over the next two years.

City officials were mum on the talks Tuesday, as they attempted to finalize the agreement under which race organizers would investment in dilapidated waterfront piers in exchange for lucrative long-term development rights on bayside property controlled by the Port of San Francisco.

The mounting pressure to get a deal was evidenced on Monday, when negotiations were ongoing even as City Hall was closed to the public.

The proposed new deal is expected to be presented at 1 p.m. today at a Board of Supervisors committee hearing. If it advances, it will be considered by the full board next week.

At issue in the deal is the inclusion of Pier 29, an attractive property at the foot of Telegraph Hill that Board of Supervisors President David Chiu wants out of the pact.

That, along with a litany of other demands regarding local jobs and involvement of the arts community, dominated a rocky hearing last week at the Budget and Finance Committee.

Local Democratic Party Chairman Aaron Peskin has come out swinging against the agreement, which he calls a “real estate deal masquerading as a boat race.”
Barclay said the location of the development rights is less important than race sponsors being able to earn a return on their planned $111 million investment.

Barclay said he remains optimistic about the regatta, but added that any big event requires alternatives.

“There’s always a Plan B,” Barclay said.

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