The San Francisco 49ers have struggled to find the necessary financing to build their new stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. but that didn't stop them from unveiling the plans to the public on Tuesday. The team is hoping the $937 million project is completed by 2015.
Everything about the stadium, from the 165 luxury suites to a planned five-story photo of “The Catch,” which sent the 49ers to their first Super Bowl in 1981, has been designed to make it a fan-friendly entertainment center.
The 49ers opened a preview center, at a cost of $2.5 million, last November to showcase the new stadium for prospective suite, club seat and season-ticket holders.
The report from the Associated Press also passes along a quote from 49ers chief operating officer Paraag Marathe, who calls the project a work in progress.
It's progress has been much slower than 49ers fans were hoping for after original approval of the stadium was given last year. A lack of capital and protests from a local theme park near the proposed location has caused the plan to be halted.
San Francisco has played in Candlestick Park since 1971 after moving from Kezar Stadium. After more than three decades at “The Stick” the 49ers think a new stadium would be more profitable than continuing to update the aging one they inhabit now.
The good news for supporters of the plan is that the 49ers, with help from JMA Ventures, are going to purchase the amusement park that was holding up progress to officially clear that hurdle. It's unclear if that was the park's plan in the first place, but if so they succeeded.
That doesn't solve the lack of money problem, though. The fact that team president Jed York doesn't plan to start building for at least 16 more months show a lack of confidence in being able to secure the funds.
The economy is still sluggish, which makes it difficult for major projects like this to succeed. York is putting a four-year timetable on completion and is probably hoping every day that the economy picks up in order to reach that goal.
With the rate that new technology is coming out nowadays, a stadium that was built in the early 70s seems like it's from the Stone Age. If nothing else, 49ers fans deserve a new toy for their dedication through rough times in recent seasons.
The city wants it, the team wants it and the fans want it. Now if they could just find a way to conjure up a cool $1 billion, they'll be all set.