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Owners question stadium’s feasibility

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A news conference to show a mixed-use development and stadium plan for Candlestick Point by the 49ers development partner was abruptly called off Sunday.

Lennar Corp. had scheduled the event with city officials to present a proposal to replace the aging Monster Park with a new stadium and 6,500 housing units just three days after the team announced that it is looking for a new home in Santa Clara County. Sam Singer — a spokesman for both Lennar and John and Denise DeBartolo York, the owners of the 49ers — said the meeting was cancelled so “discussions to keep the 49ers in San Francisco” could continue. Singer said he was not able to comment on the situation further.

Lisa Lang, vice president of communications for the team, said the 49ers had nothing to do with Sunday’s meeting. But she said the team was still willing to discuss stadium plans with The City despite shifting their focus to a lot near the Great America theme park, just a few blocks from the team’s headquarters in Santa Clara.

“We have said all along that we were open to considering any other ideas that The City of San Francisco has,” she said. “We are happy to meet with The City of San Francisco to discuss other alternatives [but] it’s just this project we have been working on for a year now and for 10 years before that, it is just not plausible.”

John York said Thursday that a mixed-use stadium project at Candlestick Point would not be feasible because of the “geographic challenges of the site.” Major infrastructure improvements and a large parking garage would be required to accommodate both fans and the housing, he said.

The team has been meeting with city officials every week for the past year, since it announced a plan to privately finance a stadium and retail-housing complex at Candlestick Point in San Francisco, according to Lang.

The 49ers met with both Lennar and officials on Wednesday to inform them of their intention to move to Santa Clara by 2012. Lang said the meeting had been scheduled two months earlier to give Lennar and The City an update on potential issues in developing the Candlestick Point site.

Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, whose district includes the stadium, said she was not aware of Sunday’s meeting but she believes The City and the team are supposed to meet again. Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Press Secretary Peter Ragone said The City will meet with the team.

“Our position is essentially unchanged from before the 49ers informed us they were leaving and that is, we are always willing to talk and listen,” he said. TheMayor’s Office had no comment on the cancellation of Sunday’s meeting.

Lang said the scheduling of future meetings was on hold because “everyone except me” was traveling with team in Detroit.

mcarroll@examiner.com and sfarooq@examiner.com

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