49ers mining for Santa Clara stadium

The San Francisco 49ers yesterday delivered a letter to Mayor Patricia Mahan and the Santa Clara City Council asking the city to join them in a cooperative, good-faith effort to explore the development of a new, world-class NFL stadium.

Under the guiding principles outlined in the letter, the 49ers and a working group established by the city would carry out an initial feasibility study of a planned 68,000-seat stadium. The goal would be to complete this study within six months.

The state-of-the-art stadium will be designed to meet all NFL requirements to host the Super Bowl and would be suitable for other entertainment events, including international soccer matches and major concerts. The guiding principles also cover the retention and expansion of the team’s headquarters and training facilities, which already are located in Santa Clara.

“The San Francisco 49ers are dedicated to the Bay Area, our home for 60 years, and to providing a world-class game day experience for our fans,” said John York, the owner of the 49ers. “We believe the proposed Santa Clara site has all the assets that add up to that, and we’re looking forward to working with Mayor Mahan and the City Council to determine the feasibility of building that stadium here.”

Among the key guiding principles outlined in the letter:

The financing plan would be designed to have no negative net impact on the city’s general fund and will not result in any tax increases.
The stadium would be financed through a public/private partnership in a transaction structure that would be developed and evaluated during the feasibility study period.
The city of Santa Clara, or an affiliated governmental entity, would develop and own the stadium.
Since the stadium site is on land currently used to provide parking for Great America Amusement Park, any stadium development plan must address the parking needs of Great America and the city’s obligations to Great America under their existing lease.
The stadium would require access to at least 19,500 parking spaces on game days and during other major events, including use of existing parking resources in the area.
The San Francisco 49ers would agree to play their home games in the stadium, subject to NFL scheduling requirements, for a term to be determined as necessary to ensure the economic feasibility of the stadium.
The team would continue to be called the San Francisco 49ers, consistent with its strong roots and staunch commitment to the Bay Area.
The city and the San Francisco 49ers would cooperate and use their best efforts to bring the Super Bowl to Santa Clara as soon as possible after completion of the stadium.
“Proudly, we’ve called Santa Clara home to our headquarters and practice facilities for the past 20 years,” said Lal Heneghan, executive vice president of football operations. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to the Bay Area and the prospects of bringing the Super Bowl here as soon as possible.”

The team’s proposal calls for the facility to be financed with a significant contribution from the 49ers. The city’s working group and the team would collaborate to structure a financing package for the development, operation and maintenance of the stadium. Potential revenue streams could include the sale of naming rights, founding corporate sponsorships, concession rights, user fees, parking and rent that the 49ers would pay for use of the venue, among others.

By developing a world-class stadium in Santa Clara, the team aims to help enhance the quality of life and recreation in Santa Clara and the broader Bay Area for residents and visitors alike – a position supported by Bay Area business leaders.

“It is important the 49ers, a valuable regional asset, stay in the Bay Area,” said Gary Fazzino, Chairman of San Jose Sports Authority. “And we, as a Bay Area community, remember that our city boundaries are only artificial.”

“Although the proposed site is not in San Jose, Santa Clara is still a great location because of the economic and recreational benefits it brings to the South Bay,” said Pat Dando, President and CEO of the San Jose City Chamber of Commerce.

The new stadium would be developed on what is now the parking lot for Great America. The city’s working group and the 49ers will work to ensure the adequacy of parking and other public services — such as public transit, police and traffic support — for game days and other events held at the stadium.

“We have had a number of discussions with the City of Santa Clara and the 49ers regarding a new football stadium in Santa Clara. Our discussions have been at a conceptual level, including site planning ideas and how we might share some parking facilities,” said Peter Crage, Chief Financial Officer of Cedar Fair, L.P., the owners of Great America. “We think an NFL stadium could be a good fit at this site, and we look forward to working with the City and the 49ers to see if this can work.”

If the project is determined to be feasible, it will be subject to in-depth environmental review and community-planning processes to evaluate and address the impact on Santa Clara’s residents and businesses.

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