Sinbad’s struggle to stay costing SF money

Sinbad's restaurant. Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner

Sinbad’s Pier 2 restaurant is starting to get expensive for The City – and that’s without dinner or drinks.

The longtime waterfront restaurant had agreed to vacate its location on Pier 2 on The Embarcadero in March, so that the pier can be demolished and a new ferry terminal can be built in its place. The restaurant’s owners had a change of heart and filed a lawsuit seeking to stay until next year.

That matter is scheduled to go to trial in San Francisco Superior Court this week.

Meanwhile, the Port of San Francisco – the restaurant’s landlord – is racking up fines every day that the seafood restaurant keeps serving cocktails, oysters, and old-school dishes like lobster thermidor.

And it’s taxpayers who will foot the bill.

As long as Sinbad’s remains in place, The Port is docked $80 per day, plus $3,000, from the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, a state agency that oversees development along the waterfront.

Sinbad’s owners, the Stinson brothers, have argued that the restaurant can stay until construction on the new ferry terminal begins. That work is not scheduled to begin until next year.

However, the BCDC has refused to allow the Port to modify an agreement that was predicated on Sinbad’s leaving, and has begun to assign fines.

Robert F. Kane, an attorney for the restaurant, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

The trial is expected to last less than a week. But win or lose, an appeal of the court decision seems imminent – which means even more fines.

If Sinbad’s remains by July 29, the BCDC will levy fines of up to $2,000 a day, plus additional penalties in a “formal enforcement proceeding,” according to court documents.

Sinbad’s has been on its prime waterfront location, with unobstructed views of the Bay Bridge, since the 1970s, when the eatery occupied a shed used for BART engineers during the planning of the Transbay Tube.

“It’s unfortunate that we are spending money on fines and legal fees when the Port, BCDC, and WETA have all worked to accommodate Sinbad’s over and over again,” said Renee Dunn Martin, a spokeswoman for the Port.

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