Thursday, March 15, 2012

Is the City of San Francisco Really This Stupid?

Piers 27-29
Thanks, AECOM and America's Cup Event Authority

What’s really fun is being asked to go to a party and not having to do anything. Just sit back and enjoy. Then they tell you that the party is at your house! Holy hasheesh Batman! Should I mow the lawn, vacuum the carpets, buy wine? Then they tell you there will be maybe a million guests and they all will be staying upstairs. And, oh, and by the way, we don’t really like the way the rooms are laid out, so could you remodel?

Now if the house was in really good shape and all the lights worked and you were just too busy, my guess is that you would politely say, no. But since your house is a wreck, the floors are rotting, you can’t even use most of the rooms, and yet, for some reason there is a magical mystery about the place, you might respond: “Batman, I think we have a stooge in the wings, I think we can pull one over on them and get this place remodeled and maybe even fill some of those rooms upstairs. What do you think?"  Wink, wink, they won’t know what happened to them.

Larry Ellison and the America’s Cup organization had offered to spend between $50 to $60 million (and probably more) to fix up the mess at Pier 29 (potential tourist central on the Embarcadero) and some of the working piers in the south part of town at #30-32. This also included some additional redevelopment near Pier 29 along the Embarcadero. The Pier 29 area is a potential primo tourist location and is half way between Fisherman’s Wharf and the iconic and recently remodeled Ferry Building. Done right this would be the “stuff dreams are made of.”

As usual San Francisco, this finest of cities, looked the gift horse in the mouth, not once but maybe a ten times, then asked for the vet’s report, the blacksmith’s report, the saddle-maker’s report and eventually the glue shop to see if this was really a "horse."

I think the Port of San Francisco (run by its own commission) liked the deal, maybe a lot. But the politician’s had to get in their own two cents and it cost the Port and city millions. In an article by Eric Young, a writer with the San Francisco Business Times, he says and then quotes, “The fizzled America’s Cup deal is ‘a loss for the city,’ said Gabriel Metcalf, director of San Francisco Planning and Urban Research association, a policy group. ‘The port does not have enough money to rehabilitate the piers. We’re billions of dollars short and with no real prospect for coming up with the money.”

The real development action is supposed to takes place in and around Pier 27, where the America’s Cup Village will be located and the hopeful shops, restaurants, and race viewing will take place. Later this will become the San Francisco Cruise Ship Terminal, if we’re lucky it might be as nice as Vancouver’s.

The potential investment of $55 million is now $18 million. The revised plan eliminates those pesky mega yachts that were expected (40 stalls – they will now probably park in Oakland where the meters are cheaper). But for now, if they show up, they’ll have to fend for themselves.

While I am a big fan of watching the rich play with their toys, I’m not sure how many locals are going to line up along the piers, jetties, and shorelines to watch these sailboats. They are very cool, I can tell you that, very fast and when the AC45s dig their nose into the Bay, spectacular somersaults can happen; these boats can shake sailors off like fleas from a dog. And when the big boys, the AC72s, come in late summer 2013 it may be magical. But, it’s my guess. that after the preliminary races in San Diego earlier this year when the crowds were one person deep, the Cup people began to reassess what $$ they really wanted to put in.

Like fleas off a dog!

Thanks Zimbio (GO HERE)

The boats are racing in Naples and Venice later this spring and back in San Francisco in August. This is all part of a preliminary series of races called the World Series. The overall winner gets to race the Oracle Team and Larry Ellison. Ah yes, big boys and their toys.

Stay Tuned . . . . .

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