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Santa Clara prepares for 49ers

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Santa Clara is gearing up to compete with San Francisco for the 49ers, saying it has the tax revenue to help fund a new state-of-the-art football stadium, as formal discussions between the Silicon Valley city and the team begin next week.

On Thursday, 49ers co-owner John York sent a letter to Santa Clara Mayor Patricia Mahan and the council asking the city officials to “begin a cooperative, good-faith effort to develop a conceptual development plan and preliminary financing plan for the stadium project.”

The letter included a list of guiding principles that would shape the process, with a goal of completing the preliminary feasibility study within six months. It also promised that the team would continue to be called the San Francisco 49ers, even if it were playing in Santa Clara. The team is eyeing land adjacent to the Great America amusement park for the new stadium.

On Tuesday, the Santa Clara City Council will have its first formal discussion on the 49ers proposal. A report from Santa Clara Assistant City Manager Ron Garratt, released Friday along with the meeting agenda, recommended that City Council members vote to proceed with a stadium feasibility study.

Key Santa Clara city leaders, including Mahan and Vice Mayor Kevin Moore, have spoken publicly in favor of the idea, said Garratt, but no official steps have yet been taken.

“It requires a majority of the council to say they want to go forward,” Garratt said.

In its letter to Santa Clara, the team calls for the stadium to be financed through a public-private partnership and promises that the stadium would have no negative impact on the city’s general fund and will not result in a tax increase.

The 49ers offered no concrete suggestions on how the stadium — projected to cost between $600 millionand $800 million, according to estimates the team worked out with San Francisco — would be financed in Santa Clara, other than to say that the city and the team would collaborate on creating a financing package for the development, operation and maintenance of the stadium.

Possible revenue could include the sale of naming rights, corporate sponsorships, concession rights, user fees, parking and rent the 49ers would pay for use of the stadium.

Under The City’s proposal, revenue generated from a development project at Candlestick Point with housing and commercial development would have also contributed $100 million to the cost of the stadium.

According to Garrett, Santa Clara has some incremental tax revenue from the redevelopment area where the stadium would be built that could be used for public purposes, including a stadium and land is available within one-third of a mile to the proposed stadium site where a revenue-generating development could be built.

Although for nearly a decade, officials for the NFL team have been in negotiations with San Francisco to rebuild the new stadium at Candlestick Point, in November York called Mayor Gavin Newsom to say that they were not happy with The City’s proposed plan and so the NFL franchise was pulling out of the deal to move south to the Silicon Valley. Official documents later revealed that Santa Clara had been courting San Francisco’s football team for quite some time.

beslinger@examiner.com

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