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Owners unveil new stadium design

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State-of-the-art facility that could house team designed to lure Olympics to The City

The owners of the San Francisco 49ers unveiled plans Monday for a privately financed, state-of-the-art stadium at Candlestick Point but refused to rule out a move to the South Bay if the plans are found not to be feasible.

Tight-lipped on details about the plan, which is pending a feasibility study, 49ers officials said the proposal calls for a $600 million to $800 million stadium that would seat 68,000 people — roughly 2,000 fewer than the current stadium holds. The current Monster Park stadium would remain in place until the project’s completion, scheduled for the 2012 NFL season.

The announcement comes as San Francisco competes to be the U.S. contender for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Team co-owner John York and Mayor Gavin Newsom have said a new stadium could be the site of the opening and closing Olympic ceremonies and other events.

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In making the presentation for the new stadium, 49ers spokeswoman Lisa Lang said the team hopes to use no public funding, including $100 million in bonds passed by city voters in 1997.

“The [bond] money is better spent in the community,”Lang said. “We understand there may not be San Francisco taxpayer” backing of the plan.

Designs call for an open-air venue that would allow views of The City and the Bay from nearly all angles. About two-thirds of the seats would be in the lower bowl, allowing the majority of fans to be close to the field and players, said Timothy Cahill, national director of design for HNTB Architecture Inc.

“We are concentrating on the fan experience,” said Tony Gonzales, vice president of HNTB Architecture Inc. “We want it to be the next generation of stadium. … It should be an unparalleled fan experience.”

The new facility would provide for thousands of temporary seats necessary for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Blueprints also show a tower featuring a private entrance for suite holders and luxury suites allowing for optimal views and climate control.

Planning is still in the initial stages for the project, which also calls for recreational space, office space, residential units, retail and open space on 77 acres, officials said.

The stadium could instead be built in Santa Clara if the 49ers do not raise enough private money to build it in San Francisco, officials said. Other factors that could kill the project include the possibility that the surrounding parkland is not made available for the project, as voters approved in 1997, and if the current feasibility study doesn’t yield expected financial results.

Lennar Corp. is conducting the feasibility study, which is expected later this summer, said Sam Singer, a spokesman for the development company.

“We’re spending about hundreds of thousands of dollars a month to make it work,” Lang said. “There is no deadline.”

mcarroll@examiner.com



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