New location could cut cost of sailing race

Moving the America’s Cup regatta to a location farther north on the waterfront would save San Francisco tens of millions of dollars, according to city documents that detail the alternative plan.

The America’s Cup was won by the team backed by billionaire Larry Ellison, on behalf of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, in February. Ellison’s team now has the privilege of deciding where and when the next race will take place, and it has said the two sites it is currently deciding between include San Francisco Bay and a European location thought to be in Italy.

Mayor Gavin Newsom had negotiated a host agreement with the America’s Cup team that would cost the Port of San Francisco $43 million in lost revenue from leases. However, a new report going to the Port Commission on Tuesday has laid out another alternative that would cost the Port only $15.8 million, which might make the proposal to host the race more politically palatable.

The regatta could be shifted to the northern waterfront, using piers 10 through 29, which would significantly reduce the infrastructure obligations for both the Port and the America’s Cup team, according to the report.

Under the alternative plan, The City would no longer have to use Pier 50, which would cost the Port $24 million alone in demolition and tenant relocation.

Last week, San Francisco Budget Analyst Harvey Rose came out with a report that said the race might cost The City as much as $128 million.

Since then, members of the Board of Supervisors have been hesitant to jump on board to support the current plan, which needs approval from the legislative body.

Supervisor Chris Daly has been the biggest critic of hosting the America’s Cup, saying San Francisco is in no position to shell out millions of dollars as it is facing a $400 million budget shortfall.

But hearing the news that there are cheaper alternatives out there has — at the very least — piqued Daly’s interest.

“We would have to crunch the numbers and see if it’s a good deal for The City,” Daly told The San Francisco Examiner on Wednesday.

SF Examiner
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