Santa Clara 49er Power Shift Moves South

Marathon meeting ends with thumbs up from council

A new San Francisco 49ers stadium in Santa Clara is a step closer to reality after more than six and a half hours of debate and public input at the City Council meeting.

Shortly before 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Santa Clara City Council voted to press ahead with its stadium deal with the team. The council voted 5-2 to move forward an extremely detailed financing deal, the result of two years of negotiations helmed by City Manager Jennifer Sparacino.

Under the plan, the city would contribute about $114 million in public funds toward the stadium's nearly billion dollar cost.

The rest of the funding would come from the 49ers, from the sale of naming rights and other licenses, and from the NFL.

The agreement holds the 49ers responsible for constructing and operating a $937 million 68,500-seat stadium next to the Great America amusement park.

The city would contribute a maximum of $42 million in redevelopment agency funds and spend $37 million to build a public parking garage and relocate a nearby electricity substation. A new tax on rooms at nearby hotels would contribute another $35 million.

The 49ers would pay rent for the land that starts at $180,000 and increases to more than $1 million over time, but would see even more money from 17 annual non-NFL events to be held in the stadium. The term sheet says the city will receive 50 percent of the profits from these events, which could include concerts, international soccer games, car shows and college  bowl games. Tickets sold for these events would include a $2 surcharge to cover assorted stadium-related expenses.

Pending voter approval from Santa Clara residents in spring 2010, stadium construction would begin in 2012 and the stadium would open in 2014.

At the June 23 City Council meeting, Sparacino and her staff will return with details on a term sheet ballot measure to be voted on in the spring. The 49ers will present a design for the proposed stadium at a July 14 meeting.

Bay City News contributed to this repoort.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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