March 22, 2012

Piers 30-32 Back In Play For The America’s Cup (And Beyond)

AC34 Venue Rendering: Piers 30-32

Having been dropped from the development plans last month, Piers 30-32 are back in play with respect to the America’s Cup. Under the latest proposal, the Port of San Francisco would invest up to $8 million to refurbish the piers and prepare them for use as the base for the five competing teams but would maintain control of the piers after the Cup.

The new proposal awaits a vote from San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors and a reaction from "Waterfront Watch," the group which filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block, or at least delay, any race related development.

Piers 30-32 Dropped From AC34 Development Plan, Lawsuit Filed [SocketSite]
Pier Pressure And The Price San Francisco Taxpayers Might Pay [SocketSite]
Rendering Scoop: San Francisco's Major America’s Cup Venues [SocketSite]

First Published: March 22, 2012 8:30 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

So I stood and watched the two of the race boats slicing through the both the fog and water yesterday from the marina green. OK....what's next??

Unless the event planners and the Port get their act together to persuade the public to get excited about the races it's a big ZZZZZZZZZ. Sorry, but standing and watching boats from afar is like watching grass grow.

Sorry to take the wind out of your sail...but I need to be convinced this is worth the effort....

Posted by: ZZZZZZZZZZZZ at March 22, 2012 8:54 AM

Clearly it's their attempt to bring to fruition the "Bay Stadium" from Star Trek:
http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Bay_Stadium

Posted by: RobBob at March 22, 2012 9:14 AM

Well I don't know about Waterfront Watch, but for me, this alleviates the major issue with this boondoggle, which was the city handing over our waterfront to Ellison.

Does this mean we will end up with the coveted cruise ship dock? Or would the 8 mil fall short of that. Seems like a bunch of cruise ships would be great for the city's economy.

Posted by: Jack at March 22, 2012 9:30 AM

so......Ellison was going to spend $60-100m but now the taxpayers will spend $6m?

and afterwards this will see as much life as the Athens Olympic facilities?

awesome

Posted by: wrath at March 22, 2012 9:41 AM

Who's going to pay for the work required to reinforce the pads where those yellow cranes are anchored? That effort only benefits the AC and has no purpose for the post-AC use of this pier.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at March 22, 2012 9:50 AM

Jack...cruise terminal won't be on 30/32...it was moved to the northern waterfront. (forget the pier number off hand...but it is the location that is being developed as the base for spectators for the America's Cup...that has never fallen out of the plans). I do understand that 30/32 would be an EXTRA cruise ship berth, but not a full terminal. I think it's exceedingly rare that we have more than 1 cruise ship in town at a time.

Posted by: curmudgeon at March 22, 2012 9:50 AM

Ever talked to a florist about Valentines day? You'd think they loved that day, but they tell me that it just pulls demand from other days and in the end, they'd just as soon do without it - it's hard to staff up just for one day, and two weeks before and 4 weeks after are dead.

I suspect this race will be similar to that event and to the bike race through the city a few years ago -- not really worth the cost to the city. Some people who come into the city from elsewhere in the bay area once a month might schedule that visit to coincide, and some locals who would be spending money in one part of the city might spend it in the part of the city near the race, but in the end, I suspect the net benefit won't be worth the cost.

Race organizers will point to a few thousand people who showed up at the same time and place -- most of those people probably would have showed up here anyway, at different times and at different places. I'm sure there will be a few more, but the benefits are probably not worth very much.

However, when you concentrate people in one place at one time, you have to hire and pay for extra city services. If you allow the same people to spread out their visits in time and place, the normal city services are sufficient. We've had the bike race through the city that never showed any real net benefit, the ski jump, etc. In the end, these things are just expensive distractions.

The bike race was fun for about 2 minutes. The second year, everyone remembered how boring it was and few really showed up. I suspect this will be the same.

If some billionaires want to use the bay as their own private playground, I think it's fine if we all get to watch, as long as they pay for it. If the teams are willing to pay a sufficient rent to the city to make this worthwhile, go for it.

On the other hand, if this doesn't happen, my life will not be over.

Posted by: tipster at March 22, 2012 9:59 AM

From what I was able to gleam from some comments from Oracle...both sides happy with the outcome and the deal is basically done.

No mention yet of seawall lot 330 though...but it definitely should not be included in the deal if Ellison is not completely revamping piers 30-32.

Posted by: anon at March 22, 2012 10:09 AM

So "Waterfront Watch" will watch the waterfront slowly crumble into the bay.

Posted by: James at March 22, 2012 10:15 AM

no, they will only watch to see if anyone is trying to prevent that;

Posted by: wrath at March 22, 2012 10:17 AM

Sometimes your best deals are the ones you don't do. The prior (dead) deal had the city repaying Ellison an uncapped 60-100 million for renovating piers 30-32, at an effective 11 percent interest rate. ELEVEN PERCENT. Plus, the city/port would forgo their future parking revenue (an estimated 10-20 million dollars). And throw in seawall lot 330 (estimated 25 million value). Then, after 66 years, if the 11 percent interest rate repayment hadn't yet covered the uncapped renovation costs, Ellison's heirs would get up to another 15 years of half the pier revenue.

Now instead, the city will itself finance a limited reinforcement of pier 30/32, pushing its economic life out to 30 years, and will preserve the opportunity for future development, and also have the option of just letting the thing fall into the bay and preserve a sidewalk-level water view enjoyed by 10s of thousands of citizens and tourists every day. Plus the port keeps seawall lot 330. The 8 million dollar cost will be covered with bonds issued against future pier revenue, mostly parking. This limited pier renovation will be revenue positive over the 30 year remaining life of the pier.

For those who like to moan about how the city can't get anything done with the piers, please note the exploratorium moving into 2 piers, where they've already raised 240 of the 300 million needed, and that demolition has finally begun on pier 34, towards the construction of the brannan street wharf park. Ironically, most media articles discussing the piers 30/32 deals and citing the "decrepit" piers of san francisco use photos of pier 34, not 30/32.

Posted by: Oasis at March 22, 2012 10:56 AM

Why do people complain about rich people being in one of the richest cities in the world? I am not rich myself, but I would much rather live in a rich city than a poor city, such as Oakland.

Posted by: sf at March 22, 2012 11:07 AM

sf: If they're so rich, why don't they buy it themselves then, rather than angling for a corrupt giveaway? To be sure, city interests are very keen to use whatever they can to get favorable Cup seats and business connections, so I'm sure both sides are pushing for a deal here.

Posted by: EH at March 22, 2012 12:09 PM

I'm not sure I following the thinking around "rich people". Certainly sailing attracts an elite crowd, but so do many sports. Have you tried taking a family of four to professional baseball game or football game? I wouldn't call that inexpensive. How is the Ferry Building not elite? Did we say, don't build it because it doesn't have MacDonalds? Does the average person eat $40 truffles?

Perhaps sailing may not be some people's couple of tea, that's totally cool, but to say we shouldn't do this because it's for the rich, is ridiculous.

I'm not rich, but I own an apartment a one block from this pier and I say "bring it on!" I love development and yes, I'm going to be personally inconvenienced by both the construction and the race. Great! That's why I live in SF and specifically in South Beach.

Progress in amazing thing...

Posted by: loftlover at March 22, 2012 1:06 PM

NFL players and owners are rich too, same with NBA and MLB. So what?

Anyway, finally the waterfront is getting a step closer to its potential. I'm no sailing afficionado but will I check out the catamarans and some racing? F yeah, why not?

Posted by: anon at March 22, 2012 1:18 PM

Well said, tipster & Oasis. And EH too.

loftlover: it's not "they're rich, so don't do it". It's that they want other people to pay for it, which is especially ridiculous given that they are, in fact, rich.

This development is a positive one, I think. No one's getting screwed. They still have the job of finding something useful to do with the seawall lot and the pier, which they should do in good time.

Posted by: Alai at March 22, 2012 2:30 PM

Post a comment


(required - will be published)


(required - will not be published, sold, or shared)


(optional - your "Posted by" name will link to this URL)

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)


Continue Perusing SocketSite:

« Envisioning San Francisco’s Central Corridor As An EcoDistrict | HOME | New Designs For Dwellings And Retail At Market And Sanchez »