SF stays on track to host America's Cup
SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco supervisors today gave unanimous approval to the city's bid to host the America's Cup regatta in 2013.
City officials must now wait to find out whether the winning team of the last race, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's BMW Oracle Racing Team, accepts the city's terms.
Mayor Gavin Newsom's office has projected that bringing the world-famous race to San Francisco could inject more than $1 billion into the local and regional economies, and add thousands of jobs.
BMW Oracle, which won the race on behalf of San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club, is reportedly also considering bids from Italy and Newport, R.I., but details have been scant.
The team's lead negotiator, Stephen Barclay, expressed misgivings about the financial terms of San Francisco's proposal in a letter to city officials over the weekend.
Newsom's office met with team officials Monday evening in an effort to try to resolve their differences, and today, the city added language to the plan "that clarifies and reduces the perception of (financial) risk" to the team, Newsom spokesman Tony Winnicker said.
"We think it's an extraordinary bid for the race that offers more-than-fair investment terms for the team" and protects the city's interests, Winnicker said.
Under the basic terms of San Francisco's proposal, race venues would be constructed at several piers along the city's northern waterfront. Ellison's group would invest between $55 million and $80 million for repairs at the aging piers in return for long-term development rights there.
At earlier public hearings, some supervisors questioned whether the deal would be financially viable for the city. Today, however, they all appeared satisfied with the proposal and approved it 11-0.
"A lot of the questions that were raised, those issues have been addressed," Supervisor David Campos said.
The board's budget analyst on Monday estimated total costs to the city for hosting the event, including tax revenues it would gain and port lease revenues it would lose, at $11.9 million.
Additionally, a private group of local philanthropic and business leaders has pledged to raise up to $32 million to offset city costs.
Board President David Chiu said the proposed sites -- which were offered in recent weeks as an alternative to an earlier proposal along the city's central waterfront -- would offer not only better viewing for the public but would be a better financial deal for the city.
"This is truly, I believe, not just the best bid for the city, but the best bid internationally for the America's Cup," Chiu said.
Newsom was expected to sign a resolution adopting the agreement at 5 p.m.
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