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SANTA CLARA, CA-The Santa Clara City Council last week signed off on a contract extension with Keyser Marston, the consulting firm helping city officials negotiate with the San Francisco 49ers on a financing deal for a proposed $900-million-plus NFL stadium would sit adjacent to the Great America theme park. The contract extension follows the city’s June 2008 extension of its deadline for negotiating the deal from July 22, 2008 to Feb. 1, 2009.

The City Council determined the stadium project to be feasible in January 2008 . The following month, it authorized the city manager to execute a negotiating agreement with the 49ers to proceed with term sheet negotiations.

The San Francisco 49ers currently play their games at Candlestick Park, but its headquarters and practice facility is already located in Santa Clara. The team’s Candlestick lease runs through the 2008 season. The team holds three five-year options that could extend it through 2023.

The 49ers first revealed its plans to relocate to Santa Clara in early November 2006, saying that plans for a new stadium at a redeveloped Candlestick Point lacked among other things the surface parking for fans’ traditional pre- and post-game tailgate parties. Shortly after the team’s announcement, San Francisco scrapped its bid for the 2016 Olympics. The bid envisioned hosting the opening and closing ceremonies at the new stadium.

In March 2007, in an attempt to turn the team’s focus back into the city for which it is named, the city and its redevelopment partner, Lennar Corp., revealed a revised plan that would move the stadium to Hunter’s Point, a contaminated 500-acre site the Navy is cleaning up and conveying to the city’s redevelopment agency in stages. The stadium would be encircled with expansive fields of reinforced grass that would be used for tailgating on game days and for sports and other recreation the rest of the year. The Navy promised to expedite the clean-up and conveyance of the proposed 27-acre stadium parcel by June 2009 to facilitate the football team’s goal of playing in a new stadium in 2012, and Lennar offered to contribute $100 million in cash toward the stadium and to help finance related parking, road and utility improvements.

Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a resolution endorsing the funding plan for the $1.4-billion redevelopment of Candlestick Point and Hunters Point Shipyard as authorized by city voters earlier this year. The planned development is expected to provide 7,500 permanent jobs, 10,500 new homes, 300 acres of parks and open space, two million square feet of office space, 700,000 square feet of retail and entertainment and a new stadium site for The San Francisco 49ers.

“We think we have crafted…a plan that meets the needs of Bayview-Hunters Point, keeps the 49ers playing in San Francisco and helps advance the economic interests of this city despite challenging market conditions,” said Kofi Bonner, president of Lennar Urban’s Bay Area division.

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