49ers detail plan to move to Santa Clara
By Jason Bennert, Bay City News Service
November 10, 2006
SANTA CLARA (BCN) - San Francisco 49ers co-owner John
York said Thursday that infrastructure problems associated with
Candlestick Point in San Francisco proved insurmountable and prompted
the team to look south at Santa Clara as the site for a new stadium.
The 49ers announced late Wednesday that they are shifting the
focus of their site search to Santa Clara, where the team headquarters
is located. The team has had discussions this week with Santa
Clara officials and with the company that operates the Great America
amusement park about building a new stadium on the site of the
current amusement park parking lot.
Tony Gonzales, the lead architect of the team's proposed new
stadium, said at a news conference this morning that the required
infrastructure improvements needed to make the stadium and mixed-use
development feasible at Candlestick Point would cost between $700
million and $800 million, far more than the cost of the actual
new stadium itself.
"Denise and I recognize the long legacy in San Francisco,''
York said, referring to his wife and co-owner, Denise DeBartolo
York. "We're disappointed with the facts but the facts tell
us that it won't work. It will work here in Santa Clara.''
York said while Santa Clara is now the team's top priority in
the search for a new stadium site, he would not rule out the possibility
of re-examining sites in San Francisco.
"It would be foolish just to slam the door,'' York said.
York said the team owners are not using the idea of moving to
Santa Clara to obtain a better deal from San Francisco.
"We are not leveraging one city against another,'' York
Even if the team does move to a stadium in Santa Clara, its name
will not change.
"Nothing will persuade us to change the name of the San
Francisco 49ers, one of the most storied brands in the world of
sports,'' York said.
Team officials expect some sort of public-private partnership
with the city of Santa Clara would assist in financing the construction
of the stadium, but the parameters of the partnership, such as
whether it would include development rights in another area or
some other incentive, have not been discussed. However, the team
is committed to avoiding any impact on Santa Clara's general fund
or raising taxes, team spokeswoman Lisa Lang said.
Lang said the Santa Clara stadium, unlike the Candlestick Point
plan, would stand alone without any attached housing or mixed-use
Santa Clara Mayor Patricia Mahan said this morning she thought
retail and housing development would be part of the plan.
"It's the development rights that make this work without
using public funds,'' Mahan said.
"That's crucial to us that it doesn't impact our city general
Team officials estimate the proposed stadium would cost between
$600 million and $800 million, according to Lang.
The team has a goal of playing in its new stadium by the 2012
season, York said.
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