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Port Endorses Plan for America's Cup Museum in Concept

November 04, 1987|ARMANDO ACUNA | Times Staff Writer

Skipper Dennis Conner's idea of creating an America's Cup museum on the B Street Pier--which will include the yacht Stars & Stripes displayed indoors--was approved in concept Tuesday by the San Diego Board of Port Commissioners.

The approval, contingent on the Port District staff and museum officials reaching agreement on formal lease documents, means the museum has moved an important step closer to opening sometime next spring, said E. Miles Harvey, Conner's attorney and point man for San Diego's America's Cup Museum, a nonprofit corporation.

As outlined by the Port District staff and Harvey, the museum will occupy about 6,900 square feet of space on the pier, next to the cruise ship terminal and close to Harbor Drive. An additional 1,200 square feet will be used for an art gallery and gift shop, which, like the museum, will be devoted to America's Cup history and memorabilia.

Unlike the museum, however, the gift shop and gallery will be a profit-making business owned by Dennis Conner Sports Inc., whose sole stockholder is Conner. Tickets to the museum are projected to cost $3 for adults and $1.50 for children. Admission to the gift shop and gallery will be free.

Conner is President

Corporate officers of San Diego's America's Cup Museum include Conner, president; Dana Smith, vice president; Douglas Augustine, secretary, and John Terrell, chief financial officer. The board of directors includes Conner, Robert Scott, James Reynolds, Richard Knoth and Alan Greenway.

Construction of the museum and exhibits is expected to cost $600,000 to $700,000, with the money coming from the museum corporation and donations, Harvey said.

The museum, expected to include various hands-on exhibits and a two-level viewing area, will include an illustrated history of the America's Cup, a video game simulating a 12-meter race; explanations of modern sail design; a replica of the America's Cup; various exhibits on racing tactics and rigging, and a theater. The highlight of the museum, though, will be the racing yacht Stars & Stripes, which Conner sailed to victory in Fremantle, Australia, last February.

As proposed, the Port District would lease the property to the museum for eight years. The museum would pay the Port District rent of $3,450 a month. Rent for the gift shop and art gallery would amount to 10% of gross sales.

Design Firm Picked

In another America's Cup-related action, the Board of Port Commissioners selected the firm of Hallenbeck, Chamorro & Associates to help design facilities for the Cup races, including the site--not yet selected--that will house the racing syndicates. It will also pinpoint environmental problems that will need to be alleviated.

The firm was selected over 12 others that also submitted bids, including the Hope Consulting Group, which had asked the commissioners for an exclusive contract last month.

The Port District and the Hallenbeck company--which is based in San Francisco but has a branch office in San Diego--must now negotiate the cost of the contract.

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