SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / KCBS) — San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced Monday that a scheduled vote by the Board of Supervisors on final approval for hosting the America’s Cup sailing race was postponed because plans to renovate the city’s waterfront for the event were being significantly scaled back.
The board vote, originally set for Tuesday, was now set to happen in two to three weeks – allowing time for the terms of the deal to be rewritten.
Lee said last-minute negotiations removed Piers 30-32 from the development agreement with the America’s Cup Event Authority. The original plans had called for those piers to be used as a “pit row” to house racing teams challenging for sailing’s most prestigious trophy.
“We are announcing today that in light of the complexities that presented themselves, and the drawn out discussions that we have worked out some agreements, some changes that will make it less complex,” said Lee. “We want to let you know that we have agreed that Piers 30 and 32 will no longer be used, at least for this event, and that we will consolidate all of the teams at Pier 80.”
KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:
Preliminary races related to the America’s Cup are scheduled to start this August, with the finals set for September 2013. Officials said the planned course around Alcatraz Island would not be impacted by the pier changes.
San Francisco was named the host city after Oracle CEO Larry Ellison won the previous America’s Cup in 2010, giving him the right to choose the location of the next contest.
Letting the international teams share Pier 80 with Oracle Racing means the city won’t have to fix up Piers 30 and 32, but the America’s Cup Village will still be built at Piers 27 and 29.
Stephen Barclay, lead negotiator for the America’s Cup Event Authority, hoped Monday’s compromise would seal the deal with the city.
“With this behind us we can really focus on the event, it being a fantastic sailing event in the Bay. We’re really looking forward to it,” Barclay said.
He also remained confident there would be eight teams, not the current four, vying for the cup in 2013.
City officials estimated that the race will bring in more than $1 billion to the city and create thousands of jobs. Critics of the plan have said those estimates are inflated and that race attendance projections are too high.
On Friday, a group called Watefront Watch sued the city over the certification of the project’s environmental impact report, alleging the report was insufficient.
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