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SANTA CLARA, CA-The Santa Clara City Council on Tuesday took the next step toward a new stadium deal with the San Francisco 49ers, voting in favor of launching negotiations for a disposition and development agreement for a new football stadium. Once that is in place later this year, it will be put on ice until voters decide whether the $937-million deal–which includes $114 million in public subsidy, 62% of it from the city–is worth affirming at the polls in early 2010.

If approved, the in-place agreements would allow construction to progress fairly quickly with the new stadium, which would rise adjacent to the city’s convention center, the Great America theme park and the teams existing headquarters and training facility. The stadium would be unique in that the luxury boxes–approximately 170–would be housed in an eight-level building rising behind some 9,000 club seats, whereas most stadiums have a club and luxury box seating ringing the entire stadium. The City has not yet made the latest stadium rendering available on its website, but here is a link to the image on the San Jose Mercury News website.

If not approved by voters, the 49ers attention likely will 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 team’s initial lease term at Candlestick runs through this season but the team holds three five-year extension options such that it could continue to play in its existing stadium through 2023.

The city council signed off on the financing deal for the stadium in June. The agreement calls for the city to pay for up to $79 million and for eight nearby hotels to put up an additional $35 million by way of a voluntary room tax. The team agreed to pay for any construction cost overruns as well as any operational shortfall. In exchange, the team will keep all revenue from ticket sales from games, ad revenue from NFL events, ticket premium fees for suite and club room use for non-NFL events, and revenue from the team store.

The newly formed Santa Clara Stadium Authority would get revenue from naming rights; net revenue from concession sales and parking lots; and annual rent payments from the team that would total roughly $40 million over the life of the contract, which has an initial lease term of 40 years that may be extended by an additional 20 years.

The city’s $79 million includes up to $42 million in tax-increment financing from the city’s redevelopment agency, $20 million to relocate a power substation and $17 million to help build a $42-million 1,700-space parking garage that would service not only the stadium, but also the convention center and the theme park.

If the redevelopment agency doesn’t have the necessary funds to foot the $40 million for the stadium and the hotel tax doesn’t generate the additional $35 million, the 49ers would be responsible for making up the difference. If the economy does not improve and the funds do not eventually become available, the 49ers would simply not be repaid, assistant city manager Ron Garratt told GlobeSt.com.

The stadium is slated to rise on a 13.5-acre, 2,300-slip auxiliary parking lot for the theme park, which is owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. The proposed structured parking would replace about one-third of those spaces while the remainder of the space would be made up in part by reconfiguring the park’s main parking lot.

In addition to voting in favor of negotiating the DDA, council members also authorized up to 600,000 in additional legal fees and up to 425,000 in additional consulting fees related to the negotiations. Concurrent with the DDA negotiations the city is also in the process of completing the environmental impact report, which upon completion will be circulated for public comment and then brought it before the planning commission and then the city council for approval, most likely this fall, Garratt said. After that, the city will begin working on the ballot language for the citywide election.

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