49ers debut new stadium design

July 14, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Stadium architects unveiled what they consider to be the perfect fit for Silicon Valley. Preliminary drawings of the new 49er stadium were unveiled Tuesday night in Santa Clara with a promise to be both high-tech and green.

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On Tuesday night, the public got its first look at what could be the 49ers new home in Santa Clara. The state-of-the-art stadium promises better views of the field, more party decks, and even an option to buy a beer through your smart phone -- all while being green certified.

An animation showed how the 68,500 seat facility will look next to the Great America theme park. The fan experience will be enhanced by a design that puts them closer to the action.

"We'd like to have more of the fans closer to the field. Oftentimes in stadium design, there's a club level that sort of isolates those fans from the field. What we're doing, by making the bowl at the lowest level larger, two-thirds of the fans are in that lower bowl," said Tim Cahill from HNTB Architecture. In reference to the stadium as a whole, he said "It needs to be a good neighbor, a civic icon, it needs to be a building that is embraced by the community."

The 49ers and the city of Santa Clara continue to work on financial arrangements called a "term sheet."

Right now, the team will pick up the projected $937 million cost for the stadium, while the city will come up with $114 million, mostly from its redevelopment agency, so the city's general fund won't be tapped.

"I think there is a dedication on both parties to adhere to those items on the term sheet, and the voters expect it," said Dan Beerman from the city of Santa Clara.

Some supporters have called the new stadium Santa Clara's own stimulus plan. However, sports economist Leo Kahane at Cal State East Bay warns it seldom works out that way.

"Most of these kinds of activities really don't generate extra income, don't produce extra jobs and don't create much, if any, extra tax revenue for the municipality," said Kahane.

Ultimately the citizens of Santa Clara will be given a chance to vote on whether a new 49er stadium goes on that site. A formal public comment period on the design is set for next month and a vote will come sometime next spring. If they give the thumbs-up, the new 49er stadium could be here by 2014.

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