Santa Clara City Council approves stadium funding

Santa Clara City Council approves stadium funding
December 14, 2011 2:14:41 AM PST
There was a major triumph for some in Santa Clara and a defeat for many in San Francisco. Tuesday night, Santa Clara City Council approved the funding to build a new stadium for the 49ers. The vote was unanimous, 7-0, but it's the big number that is the most impressive -- $850 million. That's the key financial hurdle officials cleared to move the 49ers to the South Bay.

The majority of those at the city council meeting support the stadium plan and they were overjoyed with the final decision. A billboard of the new stadium posted in front of an empty parking lot near Great America is a sign of things to come.

Tuesday night, Santa Clara's Stadium Authority and City Council voted unanimously to accept a financing plan, which allows for construction on the actual stadium to begin next year.

"I'm excited, it's a great time to be working for the 49ers, a great time to be a fan. The approval tonight is a great milestone for this project," said Larry MacNeil, the 49ers CFO.

Three lenders -- Bank Of America, U.S. Bank, and Goldman Sachs -- have agreed to loan the city's stadium authority and the 49ers, $850 million. If the stadium authority can't pay the loan back, the 49ers will.

"I'm not concerned at all. The reality of it is that our investment, as mandated by the voters, hasn't gone up and we have firewalled all of our risks so, we're not on the hook, the 49ers and the NFL is on the hook," said Mayor Jamie Matthews.

This is how the funding breaks down: the total cost for the stadium is just over $1 billion, $850 million will come from this new loan, the 49ers will pay $150 million, a hotel tax will fund $35 million of it, and a maximum of $40 million in redevelopment money can be used. The city held public comment hearings - twice last week and Tuesday night, residents still had more to say before the final vote.

"Our grandchildren and great grandchildren will be burdened with this massive debt. Santa Clara residents have been betrayed and deceived," said Nancy Lang, a Santa Clara resident.

"They have the 49ers behind them and they have the NFL behind them. I don't see this as a risk at all," said Dorothy Rosa, a Santa Clara resident.

Work to prep the stadium site could begin as soon as next month. That means they'll be moving utility lines around and re-paving some areas. After that, real construction can begin. The goal is to open the stadium in 2015.

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