SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Mayor Edwin M. Lee on Tuesday broke ground on the long-awaited Port of San Francisco’s James R. Herman Cruise Terminal at Pier 27. Last week, the Board of Supervisors upheld the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the new Cruise Terminal and 34th America’s Cup events in San Francisco, allowing for construction to begin immediately.

“Today we break ground on this key Port infrastructure project in our City’s preparations to host the 34th America’s Cup that will bring thousands of new jobs and nearly a billion dollars in economic impacts,” said Mayor Lee. “The Cruise Terminal is a great example of how San Francisco is leveraging the resources and energy of the 34th America’s Cup for jobs and long term economic benefits for the City. The hard work by our partners across our City from City staff to the America’s Cup Event Authority and Race Management to the America’s Cup Organizing Committee with the community ensures that the 34th America’s Cup will be exciting, sustainable and successful series of events in San Francisco history and leave a legacy along our City’s waterfront for generations.”

Studies have put the economic impact to San Francisco from the 34th America’s Cup events in 2012 and 2013 at more than $1 billion, including spending and jobs across the visitor, hospitality, construction and transportation industries.

“We are excited that the Board of Supervisors upheld the EIR and we can really begin the hard work of preparing for the races later this year and in 2013,” said America’s Cup Race Management CEO and Regatta Director Iain Murray. “We are committed to delivering the best sailors on the fastest boats and showcasing the Bay Area on the world stage, and thank our partners at the City and the Port for sharing that commitment.”

“The James R. Herman Cruise Terminal at Pier 27 allows the Port to provide a gateway to San Francisco for cruise passengers befitting the City’s prominence as a world class destination,” said San Francisco Port Commission President Doreen Woo Ho. “This new cruise terminal, and the world attention that the America’s Cup will bring to our waterfront, will benefit our local and global visitors, as well as our tenants and local businesses, for decades to come.”

In September 2007, Mayor Newsom formed a panel that recommended that the Port of San Francisco develop a new, primary cruise terminal to meet the increased demand for cruise ships. The panel selected Pier 27 to be the primary site because it would be the most cost-effective and strategic location on the San Francisco waterfront. The site is located at the intersection of The Embarcadero, Lombard Street and Battery Street.

Designed by KMD Kaplan McLaughlin Diaz, Pfau Ling Architecture JV and with Turner Construction as the contractor, the Cruise Terminal project budget is estimated at $92 million, with approximately 600 jobs for various trades throughout construction. The terminal, an 88,000 square foot two level facility, is slated to achieve LEED silver certification. The Department of Public Works will manage construction of the project.

“We’re excited to begin the transformation of Pier 27 into a vibrant cruise terminal and public plaza,” said Department of Public Works Interim Director Mohammed Nuru. “We appreciate the public support and the vote of confidence by the Board of Supervisors as we work in collaboration with the Port to deliver a complete, efficient, functional, and operational facility within the targeted quality, budget, and schedule goals of the project.”

The cruise industry in San Francisco generated almost $40 million in 2011, with an average contribution per home-ported vessel call of $1.2 million. The cruise industry supports San Francisco’s robust top tourism industry but also maritime industries such as tug and tow operators, bar pilots, ship suppliers and longshore workers.

“The vote to endorse the EIR is a testimony by our City’s leaders to the importance that the America’s Cup races will have on San Francisco’s future as a world-class city,” said America’s Cup Organizing Committee Chairman Mark Buell. “I applaud the Supervisors and all our community members, for recognizing the high-quality work that has gotten us to this point in a very timely and transparent process. I also thank our partners at the America’s Cup Event Authority and America’s Cup Race Management, for their hard work in helping us get to this point. These remarkable achievements will be reflected in the events as well as the legacy projects, such as the cruise terminal, for San Francisco.”

The America’s Cup World Series races will be held in San Francisco from August 11 – 19 and August 27 – September 2, 2012. The Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, will be held in San Francisco from July 4 – September 1, 2013 and the America’s Cup Finals will be held September 7 – 22, 2013.

About the America’s Cup:
One hundred and sixty years old, the America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in international sport. The America’s Cup has evolved into one of the world’s leading sporting competitions – featuring the best sailors on the world’s fastest boats, the wing-sailed AC45 and AC72 catamarans. The inaugural America’s Cup World Series season runs August 2011 – July 2012. In the summer of 2013, the 34th America’s Cup begins with the Louis Vuitton Cup July 4-September 1, followed by the America’s Cup Finals September 7-22. For more information, go to: