Newsom: If Niners bail, S.F. will seek another team

If the 49ers leave San Francisco for Santa Clara, The City will seek another major sports franchise for a new arena that will be built at Candlestick Point, Mayor Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

In November, the San Francisco 49ers announced their intention to build a new stadium by 2012, with the preferred site in Santa Clara, near the Great America amusement park.

At the time, officials for the NFL team said a proposed stadium project in San Francisco at the current Candlestick Point site was unworkable for numerous reasons, including a plan to pack cars into a mega-parking garage.

The City has since proposed building the stadium at the site of the former Hunters Point Shipyard, while still putting a major development project at Candlestick Point that would include 6,500 homes, retail space and an 8,000- to 12,000-seat arena.

“We’re doing our part to give them something that’s great and there’s going to be a chance by this time next year [for the 49ers] to say yes or no,” Newsom told members of San Francisco’s Building and Office Managers Association at a luncheon Thursday.

“If they say, ‘We’re not sure,’ we’ll still go through with our proposal and get a major league franchise in the arena.” Newsom also said that even if the NFL team left, The City would put up a legal fight to keep the San Francisco 49ers name.

“It’s unique to our city, more than any other sports franchise,” Newsom said.

“What other city could lay claim to being a 49-mile square city, founded in 1849, by the 49ers? It’s not like the New Jersey Giants.There are no giants in New York.”

Pete Hillan, a spokesman for the San Francisco 49ers said if the team moves to Santa Clara, it’s taking the name with them.

“The San Francisco 49ers are not moving from the Bay Area, we’re just moving the stadium,” Hillan said.

Work on the necessary environmental impact report for the combined redevelopment of Candlestick Point and the Hunters Point Shipyard began this week, according to the developer for the project, Lennar BVHP.

beslinger@examiner.com

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