It’s down to the wire for decision on America’s Cup

After months of debate and tense negotiations, San Francisco is expected to learn by Friday if it will host the 34th America’s Cup race in 2013.

The City unanimously approved a proposed host agreement bid Tuesday, which was quickly signed by Mayor Gavin Newsom. San Francisco now awaits word on whether the terms are acceptable to billionaire Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s BMW Oracle Racing team, sponsored by San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club.

Ellison’s team, having won the cup in February, chooses who will host the event in 2013.

“This bid is as good as we could provide. We’ll know shortly,” Newsom said. “If they say, ‘Nope,’ I don’t think we can point any fingers at each other. I don’t think anyone would be to be blame.”

The team has said it wants an agreement by Friday, and a decision on whether San Francisco will host the sailing race is expected by then.

The City approved an agreement for a northern waterfront location, abandoning the more central waterfront location, which had proven too costly for The City. Team members expressed a preference for the initial proposal as late as Monday.

The City and the team discussed the agreement into Monday night and again on Tuesday morning.

“This is not just the best bid for The City but the best bid internationally for the America’s Cup,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu.

The event is projected to inject at least $1.2 billion into the local economy and create nearly 9,000 jobs.

The agreement includes the team investing $55 million in piers 30-32, 27 and 29, which are all port facilities. In exchange, The City will grant long-term development rights to Piers 30-32 and Seawall Lot 330 to the agency that puts on the race, as well as an option for Piers 26 and 28 with an additional $25 million investment.

The agreement removes from the terms the development rights for Pier 50.  

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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