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Niners say new stadium plan won’t necessarily keep them in S.F.

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A $1 billion development plan for nearly 800 acres of Bayview-Hunters Point property — including a new football stadium for the San Francisco 49ers — has not elevated The City from its backup status with team officials, who said Wednesday that Santa Clara is still the NFL team’s top location to build a new stadium.

On Tuesday, Lennar BVHP, the master developer for both Candlestick Point and the former Hunters Point shipyard, unveiled a full picture of The City’s plan to create two commercial and residential neighborhoods along San Francisco’s southeast waterfront, along with a new stadium for the 49ers at Hunters Point.

The plans were shown to the team last week to “lure them back,” said Sam Singer, a Lennar spokesperson, adding that the entire project would be done by 2012, “with or without the 49ers.”

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The team is concerned about the cost and time associated with an environmental cleanup of the Hunters Point site, which has soil filled with toxins from its former Navy use, according to Lisa Lang, vice president for the 49ers. City representatives are lobbying federal officials to expedite the cleanup work.

Another primary issue, Lang said, is the amount of transportation infrastructure that would be needed to be built to accommodate fans.

Lang said placing a new stadium in Santa Clara adjacent to the Great America amusement park is appealing because the transportation infrastructure already exists, including a light-rail station and easy freeway access.

Although Santa Clara is the team’s “No. 1 priority,” San Francisco hasn’t been officially counted out, Lang said.

“Until the shovel goes in the ground, anything could happen with a project like this,” she said. “There are still a number of challenges in Santa Clara.”

Among those challenges is financing the stadium, which it is estimated will cost between $600 million to $800 million.

With the 49ers aiming to open a new stadium in 2012, talks with Santa Clara have been moving along since November, when the team first announced that The City’s proposal to rebuild the stadium at Candlestick Point was unworkable. The team expects to have an economic plan and formal stadiumproposal to give to Santa Clara next month, Lang said.


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