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Housing, green-tech R&D planned for stadium site if team bails to Santa Clara

San Francisco desperately wants to keep its professional football team, according to San Francisco’s mayor. But if the San Francisco 49ers do decide to move 40 miles south to Mayor Gavin Newsom’s college-era town of Santa Clara, it will be to San Francisco’s economic benefit, the Mayor told reporters today.

If the team leaves, the massive redevelopment project planned for the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard will be tweaked, Newsom said. Instead of a football stadium, the city (and builder Lennar Corporation) will build more housing as well as ample “green-tech” research and development space where the stadium would have gone.

Newsom: If the 49ers would agree to stay put, “we’d be able to work together to tear (Candlestick) down sooner.”That makes much sounder financial sense for the city — football stadiums used eight times a year for football don’t bring much money at all; new for-sale condominium housing and cutting-edge businesses do. In remarks to the editorial boards of both the Chronicle and the Examiner, Newsom recommended that Santa Clara do the same: rather than build the 49ers a nice new $937 million stadium — with about $100 million contributed from the public purse, if Santa Clara voters approve the deal next year — the city should build housing, research-and-development space, a pony farm. Hell, anything makes more sense that a stupid stadium!

“It’s a huge economic stimulus — much more than a football stadium,” the mayor said.

That being said, the Mayor does not at all want the team to leave, even though the 49ers have already “turned their backs” on the city.

If the Niners do leave, the ‘Stick won’t go the route of Kezar Stadium, the team’s first home: the erstwhile Monster and 3Com Park will be torn down no matter what; it’s only a matter of time. Candlestick Park is “a lousy stadium, we all agree. It’s in terrible disrepair,” Newsom said. If the 49ers would agree to stay put, “we’d be able to work together to tear it down sooner.”

Which is interesting, considering the 49ers keep asking the city to put in $60 million in repairs to the ‘Stick, despite obvious intentions to leave the city regardless.
The Santa Clara City Council could vote on the 49ers project as early as their meeting tonight.

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