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LJ Blake is hoping his hillside home in Sausalito that offers sweeping views of the bay will be of interest to well-heeled individuals who want to check out America’s Cup races.
“We just want to get as much as we can for it for as long a period as possible,” he said, with a laugh. “What are they estimating? A billion dollars coming to the Bay Area as part of America’s Cup? We want to stick our fingers in there and get just a bit of that.”
The America’s Cup match will pit the American defender — Internet mogul Larry Ellison’s team — against a foreign challenger on San Francisco Bay in a best-of-nine series set for Sept. 7-22, 2013. The Louis Vuitton Cup, which will determine the challenger, has been scheduled for July 13 through Sept. 1, 2013, also on San Francisco Bay. Travelers from around the world are expected to come to Marin and the Bay Area for the event — and they’ll need places to stay for weeks on end.
As the America’s Cup starts preliminary events in August and October this year, property owners in Southern Marin are getting serious about renting out their homes to those who follow the yachting series.
All the activity has not gone unnoticed by Sausalito city officials, who may look to regulate rentals in the city when they meet Tuesday.
With the races expected to pump $1.4 billion into the Bay Area, property owners see opportunity.
Blake would normally rent his home at 212 Fourth St. for
$7,000 a month. But he is hoping to at least double that for the America’s Cup.
“We could be in the right place at the right time,” he said.
Sausalito real estate agent Charlie Martin said some homes could go for three to five times what they might normally fetch. Martin and two partners started the real estate rental company Rezlux to cater to those who might want to rent for the America’s Cup.
“We are starting to get inquiries from homeowners,” he said. “We think people coming in will want to have a home to themselves rather than stay at a hotel.”
While Martin said there likely will be a large spectrum of homes offered, it will be the higher-end properties that will be most desirable.
“We will be trying to accommodate the high-end visitors, and a home will probably have to have special and unique qualities,” he said.
To make the experience a little more ritzy for renters, Martin is offering chef and concierge service. The company is getting inquires about rentals in Sausalito and Southern Marin, he said.
Many of the more desirable properties being rented are in San Francisco, but Marin should see some action as well, said Eric Baird, president of Relisto, a San Francisco firm also offering rental homes for America’s Cup.
“You still have premium homes in Sausalito, Tiburon and Belvedere that people will be interested in,” Baird said. “Even though those homes don’t put you right on top of the action they are still right there and just a ferry ride away. I think there is a lot of excitement out there for this.”
Sausalito real estate agent Sherrie Faber, however, is not so sure the demand is really there.
“Unless you have a great view of the race course, I don’t think people will seek out homes,” she said. “A lot of people will be coming in their yachts and staying in the higher-end hotels or maybe on the west shore of Belvedere. A few homes in Marin may be rented that have the panache that these travelers are looking for. But most want to be close to the action in San Francisco.”
People are expected to come to Marin for the races. As many as 11,500 people a day could line the shores of Southern Marin to watch the America’s Cup on race weekends, according to an environmental impact report on the ritzy yacht race prepared by the city of San Francisco.
Sausalito is expected to see the most visitors in Marin for the race — 5,000 during peak periods on the weekends. Another 3,500 people are expected to come to Fort Baker, the Marin Headlands and other areas just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Tiburon and Belvedere are expected to see 1,200 people a day during the race on weekends.
Sausalito city officials are looking at how to address potential impacts to the city. While there may be some hardships, they also realize there is a chance to cash in on the event from affluent yachting fans who want to spend and rent in the town. At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, council members will look at new vacation rental regulations.
“With the pending America’s Cup, staff anticipates an increase in tourism and local hotels may not have the capacity to accommodate the visitors’ lodging demand,” reads a city report on the subject.
Noting the city can only offer up a little more than 100 rooms in hotels, the city is proposing to temporarily allow for rentals for fewer than 30 days in residential areas including arks and houseboats. These short-term rents are currently prohibited in all residential areas.
The rentals would only be allowed during race periods. Property owners would have to pay for a $283 permit to rent their homes. Properties would need to be rented for at least seven days.
Mayor Mike Kelly wants to check the pulse of the community on the issue.
“We have to move slowly and carefully on this and see what the residents and business community, including the hoteliers, think about it,” he said. “We will see if people find it favorable. I’m sure the community will let us know what they think.”
Contact Mark Prado via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sausalito City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday to discuss short-term residential rentals related to the America’s Cup races. The meeting will be in City Hall at 420 Litho St.