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SANTA CLARA, CA-The Santa Clara City Council was in a closed session last night finalizing the terms of its proposed land lease to the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers for a 68,500-seat stadium on an overflow parking lot at Great America theme park. The land lease is part of a larger funding package that will come before the full council at a special meeting on June 2, deputy city manager Carol McCarthy tells GlobeSt.com.

If the city council signs off on the overall plan it would then go before the voters for final approval, most likely in March 2010, McCarthy says. “[There have been many closed sessions over the last few weeks [regarding the stadium deal] and they have been increasing in frequency,” McCarthy says. “That’s how I know we are close. If [the council does] think it’s the right deal they have already committed to put it on the ballot.”If voters reject the plan, the 49ers attention may shift back to San Francisco where the city, in partnership with Lennar, wants a new 49ers stadium at Hunter’s Point to replace Candlestick Park. Either way, the goal is to have the stadium ready for the 2014 NFL season.

The 49ers had initially asked the city to contribute more than $220 million toward the estimated $916-million cost of the project–$160 million toward the $854-million cost of the stadium and an additional $60 million to move an electricity substation on the site and to build a parking garage. Santa Clara Mayor Patricia Mahan reportedly told the San Francisco Chronicle recently that the tentative deal has the city paying $152 million–$62 million for the substation relocation and the parking garage and $90 million toward the cost of the stadium.

The stadium money would be repaid from redevelopment funds and hotel taxes while the parking garage is already funded because it also is meant to support the convention center located across the street from the development site, she reportedly told the newspaper. The financing plan also requires the 49ers to make annual rent payments to the city and has the team covering construction-cost overruns, she said.

Mayor Mahan did not return a phone call seeking confirmation of the statements and McCarthy says she hasn’t seen any recent summary of the deal points to confirm or correct the information herself. McCarthy says one likely date for the council’s vote on the matter is June 26 because the council typically meets on Tuesdays and no meeting has been set for that particular Tuesday, she says.

“All that will be available when the term sheet goes before the city council for a vote,” McCarty says. “We’re just a few weeks away from seeing it on the public docket.”

While the San Francisco 49ers still play games in the city of San Francisco 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 late 2006, saying that plans for a new stadium at a redeveloped Candlestick Point lacked among other things the surface parking for fans’ traditional pre-game 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, San Francisco 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 proposed Hunter’s Point 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 had promised to expedite the clean-up and conveyance of the proposed 27-acre stadium parcel by June 2009 to facilitate the football team’s then 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.

In December 2008, 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 last 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.

The Santa Clara 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. In January 2009, the San Francisco 49ers asked the City of Santa Clara to amend the project description to include the possibility of it being a two-team stadium, bringing the proposal in step with the latest directives from the National Football League.

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