Santa Clara votes to support new 49ers stadium

San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York
June 9, 2010 12:12:59 PM PDT
Santa Clara county voters are thrilled after Measure J passed to build a stadium for the 49er football team.

After succeeding with its $4 million campaign, the team is showing its spirit too. It has set up a billboard along Tasman, right where the 68,000 seat stadium will be built. The sign boasts the spot as the "Future Home of the San Francisco 49ers."

Supporters of a new 49ers stadium began celebrating last night, upon learning that Santa Clara's Measure J captured voter approval with a 20 percent margin.

"I think it's a testament to the work we've put in over last three-and-a-half years, and it's a resounding yes that Santa Clara wants to build this football stadium," said 49ers president and CEO Jed York.

York says getting city residents' to approve partial funding was a critical hurdle to building the $937 million stadium.

Within hours of winning, the team had a billboard set up, marking the spot where the new 49ers home will be built, next to the Great America theme park. Even city council members came out during the pre-dawn hours to celebrate.

"All we need to do is break some ground and play some football," said Santa Clara city council member Jamie Matthews.

The team announced four years ago that it was abandoning plans to build a new stadium on San Francisco's Candlestick Point. The road to building one 45 miles south in Santa Clara has been a long one.

"Going through the feasibility study, making sure that we can have the right public-private partnership, going through the EIR, getting a certified EIR. I mean those are huge steps and obviously the vote last night was a culmination of all that work," said York.

Opponents from the Santa Clara Plays Fair group are disheartened by the passage of Measure J and say it shows fiscal irresponsibility of public money.

"Why must a city of 117,000 have to pay $444 million on a per-capita basis, it's one of the largest debts for an NFL stadium anywhere in the country," said Bill Bailey of Santa Clara Plays Fair.

Securing financing is the next big tackle. Under the deal, Santa Clara is contributing $114 million, which includes redevelopment funds and a voluntary hotel tax. But another $330 million must be raised by a stadium authority, selling naming rights, seat licenses and concessions agreements.

The 49ers team is footing nearly $500 million. The team is also using the billboard to announce a new website -- 49ersnewstadium.com -- it covers everything from the seat selection process at the new stadium to the latest design images and building plans.

The construction of the stadium is expected to begin in 2012 and it will be ready by the 2014 NFL season.


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