America’s Cup will force evictions of waterfront businesses

Seafood companies, wine companies, pedicabs, a local theater and even The City’s Police Department could all be forced to find new homes to make way for software mogul Larry Ellison’s yacht race.

Some 80 businesses are on a list of Port of San Francisco tenants that could be forced out of their current locations when the America’s Cup comes to town, but the Port is still trying to sort out exactly who will need to go and who can stay.

Ellison’s yachting team won the America’s Cup in February, and last month the team announced it would bring the next race to San Francisco Bay. The team will erect a racing village near the Bay Bridge, between Pier 26 and Piers 30-32. Ellison’s team also has the right to use Port property on the northern waterfront, most of the land between Piers 19 and 29.

While that could bring tens of millions of dollars to businesses in The City, it’s not good news for many of the businesses who call the port property home. Among those who may need to find a new home is Teatro ZinZanni, Bauer’s Limousine and Transportation, and San Francisco Soccer — a group that has an indoor soccer facility on one of the piers where Ellison’s team plans to host a public viewing area for the regatta in 2013.

Some waterfront businesses must move by the end of this year, while others will have until the end of 2012.

Bill Cummings, a Golden Gate Pedicab cyclist, said his income could be directly impacted if the business is forced to relocate. Currently, the pedicabs work out of a warehouse on Pier 27 — halfway between the tourist meccas of Pier 39 and the Ferry Building.

“The idea of them forcing us all to move to accommodate a weeklong event, it doesn’t seem fair,” he said. “It’ll be a killer event for us, it’ll be great to have the business, but if we have to move, our whole business, maybe it’s not worth it.”

Port officials declined to say exactly how they will accommodate the businesses, how many they may be able to relocate onto other port property, or how much of the moving expense bill they will foot.

A move would be a major inconvenience for Michael Denny, president of American Wine Distributors, which for nearly 20 years has called Pier 23 home. He said that he has 65 licenses from the city, state and federal governments to import and sell spirits — and they’re all predicated on his address at Pier 23. If he moves his business, he will have to start over and apply for every license again.

He noted that his office on Port property isn’t anything fancy — holes in the roof plagued his business for years and there have been a series of other problems with the property.

“It’s kind of a piece of crap, but it’s our piece of crap,” he joked.

Making way for Larry

Here’s a list of some of the waterfront businesses that may be forced to move because of the 2013 America’s Cup:

– Mr. Toad’s Tour
– Pacific Bell Wireless, LLC
– Shelton Theater, LLC
– Underwater Resources, Inc
– Bauer’s California Coach Sales & Service
– Chinese Chamber of Commerce
– Priority Parking-CA
– San Francisco Soccer
– C&L Seafood Wholesale, Inc.
– Seafood Producers Cooperative
– American Scooter & Cycle Rental, Inc.
– One Reel — Teatro Zinzanni
– San Francisco Pedicab, LLC
– Waterfront Container Leasing Company, Inc.
– American Wine Distributors, Inc.
– San Francisco Commercial Builders, Inc.
– King’s Fine Art and Antiques, Inc.

kworth@sfexaminer.com

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