SF Sees Big Savings If 49ers Leave

By Joe Kukura
|  Monday, Jul 26, 2010  |  Updated 12:29 PM PDT
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San Francisco may be giving up on keeping the 49ers.

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It looks like the San Francisco Board of Supervisors may be moving on to the fifth stage of grief in the process of losing the San Francisco 49ers franchise to Santa Clara. They are not only accepting the loss, they're accepting that they might be financially better off without the team in their city limits.

The supervisors did a little cost analysis Monday in their Land Use and Economic Development Committee.  They weighed the option of fighting to keep the 49ers in San Francisco, or just making other use of that piece of land they're setting aside at Hunters Point in distant hopes building of a new stadium there.

"It’s a little bit better financially in the non-stadium alternative," senior economic development adviser Michael Cohen was quoted as saying by the San Francisco Examiner. "I don’t believe that there is a big pot of money there."

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom did not attend the meeting (as if!), but he sent Cohen as his personal emissary. The Board meeting agenda shows that it was Newsom who requested the discussion.

The Board didn't vote on the matter, and discussions are expected to resume next month, but this shows a possible change of course in San Francisco's strategy.

Newsom's previous strategy had been to sit back and wait to swoop in if the Santa Clara process falls apart. "The (Santa Clara) stadium plan is built on shaky economic ground, and a significant math problem and financing gaps remain," Newsom said following Santa Clara voters' approval of Measure J.

But if the issue comes down to a decision based on the almighty dollar, San Francisco might not challenge the current ruling on the field.

The 49ers are under lease to continue playing at Candlestick Park until 2014.  Lennar Corp. says it will continue to set aside the property for the team until 2017.

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is still waiting for that freaky guy who goes to every San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting and sings during the public comment portion to weigh on this matter.

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