It's all about the giant parking lot that is at Pier 30-32, just south of the Bay Bridge. That was to be the base camp for all the America's Cup teams, the challengers as well as Oracle, but not anymore.
The deal was Oracle CEO Larry Ellison would spend an estimated $80 million or so to rebuild the crumbling piers and the city would give him development rights a long-term rent free lease on the property until the investment was recouped. Monday, Mayor Ed Lee told reporters that wrangling over the deal had taken a lot of the fun out of the America's Cup.
"People were forgetting how fun this race is going to be for our city," said Lee.
Speaking from the Oracle Racing base camp on Pier 80 the mayor didn't mention that it's the world wide recession has crippled participation in the next America's cup, but that is also a factor. So far only three teams are challenging Oracle for the cup, so all of the team bases can be consolidated on Pier 80.
"With the level of investments that had been anticipated to repair Pier 30-32 we won't really be needing those and we figured that out over some good conversations that we had this weekend," said Lee.
The CEO of Ellison's America's Cup Event Authority, Stephen Barclay, says some millions will still be spent in pier upgrades.
"For example the aprons that were part of the BCDC requirement, they still have to be done," said Barclay.
But if $80 million isn't going to be spent fixing up the piers, that means a lot of jobs fixing the piers will also not come to pass. Supervisor David Chiu says it was just a matter of running out of time.
"By the changes that we made today to simplify how much work we have to do to prepare for that, we'll be ready for the whole world to come and see these races," said Chiu.
Former Supervisor Aaron Peskin has felt all along that the city was in over its head. He thinks the new deal is a step in the right direction.
"I am hopeful that this is a sign that the project is being scaled into reality to deal with the fact that there's less challengers coming, that there are probably smaller crowds than were originally anticipated," said Peskin.
No one exactly how many people are going to come for the America's Cup in 2013, but I think it's pretty safe to say that if Ellison's team manages to win in 2013, and San Francisco gets to host another go around of the America's Cup, expect piers 30-32 to be back in the mix.