The biggest fish - Page 6

The America's Cup would transform San Francisco's waterfront -- but is it a good deal for the city?

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The next world-famous sailing match could be held in San Francisco in 2013
PHOTO BY JEAN-BAPTISTE DANIEL

At the same time, other small business would be negatively affected, particularly those among the 87 Port tenants who would be forced to relocate to make way for the America's Cup. The Budget Analyst's report also notes that retail businesses in the area whose services had no appeal to race-goers might suffer from reduced access to their stores, since crowding and street closures would shut out their customers.

The sailing community has rallied in support of the Cup, and Newsom has received hundreds of e-mails from yachting enthusiasts from as far away as Hawaii and Florida promising to travel to San Francisco with all their sailing friends to watch the world-famous vessels compete.

Ariane Paul, commodore of a classic wooden boat club called the Master Mariners Benevolent Association, told the Guardian that she was excited about the opportunity for the America's Cup to showcase sailing on the bay. "In the long term, it's a win-win," Paul said. "It would be great to have that boost." As for the financial terms of the deal, she remained confident, saying, "I don't think that the city is going to let Larry Ellison walk all over them."

Sup. Ross Mirkarimi is often politically aligned with Daly, but not when it comes to the issue of the America's Cup. As a kid growing up on the island of Jamestown, a tiny blue-collar community located off the coast of Rhode Island, Mirkarimi learned to sail and occasionally spent summers working as a deckhand. Every few years, the America's Cup would come to nearby Newport, transforming the area into a bustling hub and bringing the locals into contact with famous sailors. It left an everlasting impression. When the BMW Oracle Racing Team secured the 33rd Cup off the coast of Valencia, Mirkarimi did a double-take when he saw a photograph of the winning team — his childhood friend from Rhode Island was on the crew.

Mirkarimi told the Guardian he supports bringing the Cup to San Francisco because of the economic boost the area will receive — if the Cup continues to return to San Francisco as it did for 53 years in Newport, he said, the city could look forward to a free gift in improved revenue associated with the event, and that could help quiet the tired annual debates over painful budget cuts.

At the same time, he acknowledged that the Budget Analyst report had prompted what he called healthy skepticism. "I think the onus is on the city and Cup organizers to make sure the benefits far, far outweigh the investment," Mirkarimi said. "This effort is not just about making one of the wealthiest men in the United States that much more wealthy ... That can't be the case," he said. "It has to be about what will the Cup do in order to be a win-win for the people of San Francisco." Mirkarimi said he expected scrutiny of the details of the agreement at the Dec. 8 Budget and Finance Committee hearing: "Naturally, in this time of economic downturn ... people want to know, what's the outlay of cost, and what are we going to get in return?" 

Comments

Great piece,

The two numbers that jump out are the 35 acres of Bay front that Ellison would actually control. Newsom's people had everyone thinking it was 3 acres.

The other one is that you have a very astute post on another of your threads about this issue (or is it on the Bay Citizen?) who has a serious big time real estate background and says that any competent Realtor could get 50 times the value at which the Mayor is valuing the property they're proposing to give away (in a poker game where there aren't even any other players!) ... Means, Ellison is getting over 5 billion in property and we're losing, what, 80 pier businesses and how many jobs?

Time for Mirkarimi to show for the first time in his career that he can admit to a mistake. This is an incredible debacle and Ross is the lynch pin. If he doesn't flip on the issue, SF loses billions in value and all he get's is a chance to have a martini with Larry Ellison. Choose one, Ross. The people. Or, the photo op.

Go Niners!

h.

Posted by Guest h. brown on Nov. 30, 2010 @ 8:03 pm

A couple comments.

Firstly, is the city honestly going to consider losing the hosting of the America's Cup and its massive attendant benefits over a mere $10 million, out of a budget close to $6 Billion?? You ~have~ to be kdding me!

On the long term leases, the partner who already has half of SWL: 330, and built a condo there, renegged on a deal to resuscitate Pier 32. The numbers did not add up for him. Fortunately by some miracle this opportunity has arrived to salvage the idea, one that rescue the piers and also absolve the Port of a truly massive deficit problem with that, and maybe a couple other dilapidated, piers. How do you propose to raise city money to save those piers from crumbling into the ocean?

On the competition. Who knows who Alinghi put Daly in touch with, but Alinghi and their owner, spiteful and hurt billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, just took a very serious beating at the hands of Ellison. Who do you think they tried to find for Daly? Someone who might support the Ellison cause? Of course not. Who they found is a nobody. Nobody has ever heard of this guy, I have looked into it too. To top that, the very next day after Daly posted the so-called non-proposal story from out of Valencia, the mayor of Valencia, Rita Barbera, said on live camera that her city had indeed offered 250 million Euros in (already) purpose-built facilities, but that the Americans had deemed the Italian offer to be stronger. Why would the ACEA have turned down the Valencia offer she spoke of, if the Italian offer was not in fact stronger? The fact that insiders in Rome are holding their cards close to the vest should be no surprise. They WANT this prize, believe me.

This is a very big deal. It is not going to solve other city budget allocation issues, decide who gets what from the $6 Billion. But it will, if wiser heads than Daly's prevail, generate an enormous boost to the city overall, as well as massive improvements to the waterfront that have no other good prospects for them at all.

Lastly: This is a about a fantastic, clean, beautiful, proud image for San Francisco. The America's Cup puts places positively on the world map like almost nothing else does. Yes, SF could use that about now! Quite frankly, articles like this do the opposite.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 30, 2010 @ 8:48 pm

You have one number wrong.

Ellison spent a decade pursuing the Cup at a total cost of $1 billion, not $100 million !!!

Posted by Stingray on Nov. 30, 2010 @ 9:29 pm

On one hand you mention hard economic times as an impact to raising sponsorship and a reason for not supporting a billionaires yacht race and yet on the other you fail to see that hard economic times are exactly the reason why the piers in question will continue to rot. So the lost rent figures are slightly skewed given that context.

Surely it's better to continue to improve the water front and host a world class event that will generate revenue you would never have seen anyway than hold out for another property developer that will be looking for a killer deal as well but will bring no new tourism to the city.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 30, 2010 @ 11:24 pm

Once upon a time, hosting the America's Cup was a prestigious thing. In fact, one of the reasons for competing for the America's Cup was to win the right to host the event the next time around.

It's a shame that the Golden Gate Yacht Club and Larry Ellison put the event out to tender. Instead, winning the Cup should have been the same as winning the right to host the Olympics. The citizens of San Francisco should have started planning to host the event the day after BMW ORACLE beat Alinghi.

Major events always cause these fights. People in Albert Park in Melbourne don't like the F1 Grand Prix there and it probably loses the city some cash, but it puts the city on the international stage for a couple of days a year and generates some tourism dollars. The UK people are ambivalent about the cost of the Olympics, but hopefully there will be some legacy infrastructure that comes out of it.

Some people are going to make money, some people are going to lose money. The Golden Gate Yacht Club should just announce with pride that they are glad to have won the right to hold the America's Cup in San Francisco, then everyone should get on with making it an incredible event.

Posted by Dave Fuller on Dec. 01, 2010 @ 2:23 am

These billionaires will not be satisfied until we begin to present them with a stream publicly funded of gold bricks.

-marc

Posted by marcos on Dec. 01, 2010 @ 9:58 am

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