Phil Matier: America’s Cup Concert Venue Slips Past SF Supervisors

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — People living in one San Francisco neighborhood were surprised when they recently learned that a new concert venue is going up near their homes as part of the America’s Cup festivities.

This was all done without the usual approval process where the city seeks public comment and it’s leaving people wondering how that’s even possible. It’s a 9,000 seat amphitheater on Piers 27-29 and will face the water.

Normally, the planning and eventual construction of something like this would take months of hearings and environmental reports and reviews. I think because it’s the America’s Cup, it only took one note to the file and got approval of the Board of Supervisors, although even some of them didn’t even know it was included.

It went from a 4,000-seat viewing area to a concert venue that’s twice the size. When the news broke that Sting was going to be the opening act of a summer concert series, some city officials only then learned of the plans.

The early negotiations for the America’s Cup race to be in San Francisco included 12 teams and an over $100 million development deal with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. The race ran into some financial trouble and the race shrunk considerably, but for some reason the fine print included details on upgrading the music amphitheater.

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