Santa Clara $88M short on 49ers stadium funds

The City of Santa Clara could raise up to $24 million from leasing city-owned land, according to a presentation that will be made tonight to city officials who have been asked by the San Francisco 49ers to contribute $160 million to help pay for a new $854 million stadium the team wants to place next to the Great America amusement park.

The long-term lease revenue, linked to 7.6 acres of city-owned land adjacent to the city’s golf and tennis club, would only secure a portion of the financing requirement.

City staff also told the Santa Clara City Council that up to $48 million could be raised by issuing bonds through the city’s redevelopment agency.

Combiningthose two sources, Santa Clara still needs to find an additional $88 million in public funds without taking money from the general fund or increasing taxes, according to guiding principals for the project put forward by the 49ers.

Deputy City Manger Carol McCarthy declined to elaborate on other possible revenue sources, telling The Examiner only that “options are being explored.”

Although some stadium supporters have suggested using part of Santa Clara’s electric utility reserves to help pay for the stadium, McCarthy said city staff have recommended against such a plan, which would require a change of the City Charter by popular vote.

The City Council will also decide tonight whether to increase the amount of money allocated for stadium feasibility studies from $200,000 to $315,000.

Finding public funds for the project is only one obstacle standing in the way of Santa Clara’s building a new stadium for the 49ers. Last month, officials from Cedar Fair, Great America’s owner, announced that they were opposing the proposal because concerns about parking and theme-park visitor safety had not been addressed.

The plan to relocate the 49ers to Santa Clara began in November, when the 49ers declared a proposed stadium project at Candlestick Point unworkable, due to parking and transportation infrastructure concerns.

San Francisco has since proposed building the stadium at the site of the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.

Team officials have expressed interest in the proposal as a potential backup plan. San Francisco has offered the 49ers a $100 million contribution toward the stadium costs — revenue city officials say will be generated from development that will still take place at Candlestick Point.

beslinger@examiner.com

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