San Francisco 49ers shift focus of new stadium
to Santa Clara
By Matt Wynkoop, Bay City News Service
November 9, 2006
The San Francisco 49ers announced in a statement today that negotiations
to build a new stadium in San Francisco have gone sour and that
the team's new focus will be to build a stadium in Santa Clara
or somewhere else in the Bay Area.
The statement reported that the team reached its conclusion based
on an assessment that a new stadium in San Francisco would not
provide "optimal game day experience'' for fans. The organization
will now move toward building a state-of-the-art NFL stadium closer
to the team's current headquarters and practice facility in Santa
The decision, made by 49ers co-owner John York, also stemmed
from incompatible land requirements needed for a new stadium and
mixed-use development at Candlestick Point, according to the statement.
"We hired the best experts and advisors in the business
and worked tirelessly with the City and Lennar Corp. to move forward
with this project at Candlestick Point,'' York said in the statement.
The team has scheduled a news conference today to formally announce
its plans to move from San Francisco.
A spokesman close to negotiations with the 49ers who asked not
to be identified said that when York informed Mayor Gavin Newsom
Wednesday evening of plans to move the team, the decision was
met with "anger, shock and disappointment.''
"I want to commend Mayor Newsom and his staff and Lennar
(Corp.) for their support and determination over the past year
in this enormous undertaking,'' York said in the statement. "This
decision is not a reflection of their efforts, but rather the
geographic challenges of this site.''
It was just four months ago that York announced updated design
plans for a privately funded stadium at Candlestick Park that
was expected to replace Monster Park by the 2012 NFL season.
According to the 49ers' statement, efforts will now concentrate
on evaluating a stadium site in Santa Clara, near the Great America
amusement park and the Santa Clara Convention Center. The proposed
site would supposedly offer easier traffic access to fans coming
from all over the Bay Area, the team said.
"We're excited to work with Santa Clara officials to discuss
this project,'' said York. "Based on our initial analysis,
Santa Clara has strong potential to deliver the game day experience
our fans deserve.''
The team is now expected to meet with Santa Clara officials to
begin negotiations for the project.
Santa Clara Mayor Patricia Mahan said in the team's statement
that Santa Clara has been looking to expand its entertainment
options in recent years and that an NFL stadium would be a great
addition in Santa Clara.
"We are ready to give this project our full attention,''
Mahan said in the statement.
The team's statement highlighted transportation restrictions
as the major difficulty with a new stadium at Candlestick Point,
specifically the "limiting and deteriorating road access
that would have been overwhelmed by the stadium and planned mix-use
An absence of reliable public transportation service to Candlestick
Point, as well as the need for a new multi-level parking garage,
also posed problems, according to the statement.
In the event that construction of a new stadium in Santa Clara
is not possible, the 49ers said they would search for a new site
somewhere else in the Bay Area.
"The 49ers have called the Bay Area home for our entire
60-year history,'' said York in the statement. "We are part
of a fabric of this region, and we intend to stay right here where
According to York's statement, the 49ers departure from San Francisco
would not result in a change of the team's name.
In 1997 San Francisco voters approved $100 million in bonds to
help finance a new stadium complex in the City with an attached
shopping mall, but the plan never got off the ground.
In 1998, former 49ers owner Eddie Debartolo Jr. sold the team
to his sister Denise Debartolo York and her husband John.
The 49ers' exit from Monster Park, known to longtime fans as
Candlestick Park, would leave the stadium without any tenants,
as the San Francisco Giants left the park for the privately funded
AT&T Park in 2000.
The 49ers current lease at Monster Park runs through the 2008
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