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Monday, July 17, 2006
49ers unveil plans for new stadium at Candlestick Point

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco 49ers unveiled an updated design plan for a new stadium at Candlestick Point that would add enough seats to host a major event such as the Olympics.

The team hopes to finance the building of the new stadium that is estimated to cost between $600 million and $800 million entirely through private funding.

The planned 68,000-seat, open-air venue could be expanded up to 80,000 seats for larger events such as the Olympics. The new stadium would offer expansive views of the city skyline and San Francisco Bay.

The extra seating was included to give San Francisco a single location with enough seats to host the opening and closing ceremonies of an Olympic Games. The new design has been included as part of San Francisco's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics, said Lisa Lang, vice president of communications for the 49ers.

The additional seats could also improve San Francisco's chances for hosting a Super Bowl or World Cup soccer events.

Plans to overhaul 46-year-old Monster Stadium at Candlestick Point have been under consideration since 1997, when city voters authorized a $100 million bond to help pay for the project.

"We know there is public concern about using the bond money approved by the voters, so our goal is to find alternative ways to finance the new stadium," team co-owner John York said in a statement.

The 49ers have proposed the construction of a retail, entertainment, and residential development complex next to the stadium to pay for the project. The team's development partner, Lennar Corp., plans to present its proposal for the Candlestick Point property in the city's Bayview-Hunter's Point neighborhood later this summer.

Team owners John and Denise York plan to contribute "hundreds of millions" of dollars to finance the stadium pending the approval of the adjacent development, Lang said.

The team also expects funding from Lennar Corp. and between $20 million and $150 million from the NFL.

The team wants to complete the new stadium by 2012.

Monster Park used to be called Candlestick Park and opened for the San Francisco Giants in 1960. The stadium hosted the last Beatles concert for paying fans August 29, 1966.