Santa Clara considers 49ers’ stadium demands

With the San Francisco49ers pushing Santa Clara to make a commitment as early as July to work toward building a new $854 million NFL stadium for the team, officials of the Silicon Valley city continue to review anticipated costs and hurdles for the project.

Last month, the 49ers told the Santa Clara City Council they wanted $160 million in public funds to help build the new stadium adjacent to the Great America amusement park.

On Tuesday, the Santa Clara City Council looked at two other demands from the team: Having the city move a planned parking structure for the Santa Clara Convention Center so it could be used for game-day parking; and relocating an electric utility substation that would be in the way of the proposed stadium — a move that would cost Santa Clara at least $20 million.

Santa Clara is starting to explore a number of funding possibilities, Santa Clara Assistant City Manager Ron Garratt said, including using money from the city’s electric utility reserve fund and putting revenue-generating development on 11 acres of city land near the proposed stadium site.

City officials are also looking at utility reserve funds to move the substation on Tasman Drive.

City funds totaling $42.3 million, approved in 1999, have already been allocated for a 1,780-space parking garage planned for a lot adjacent to the convention center. Team officials have asked Santa Clara to move the parking lot across Tasman Drive to be closer to the stadium site.

Santa Clara city engineer Rajeev Batra told council members Tuesday that $458,000 has already been invested in studying the current site and the design would have to be restarted to accomodate the constraints of the new site.

No action was taken at the meeting, which was part of a six-month feasibility study set to be completed in July. The plan to relocate the 49ers to Santa Clara began in November, when the 49ers declared a proposed stadium project at Candlestick Point unworkable.

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, but have expressed concern about The City’s ability to get the Navy to clean up the polluted site to adhere to the team’s timeline for a new stadium by 2012.

That same schedule is also bearing down on Santa Clara, since team officials say they want to begin the multiyear environmental review process by August, in order to begin construction by January 2010.

beslinger@examiner.com

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