- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 9, 2006

2:04 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO - The San Francisco 49ers yesterday ended negotiations with the city about building a new stadium and have turned their focus to the Bay Area suburb of Santa Clara.

Owner John York notified Mayor Gavin Newsom of the team’s decision earlier in the day, the mayor’s spokesman, Peter Ragone, told Associated Press. Team spokesman Aaron Salkin declined to comment, but the 49ers issued a news release late last night announcing the decision.

According to the release, the team decided after studying the area around Candlestick Park for the past year that the site needed too many infrastructure and public transit improvements as well as one of the largest parking garages in the world.

The team said the cost of the infrastructure improvements could have exceeded the cost of the proposed stadium, which was estimated at $600 million to $800 million.

Also, the team said it was unlikely it could achieve its goal of opening the new stadium in time for the 2012 season.

Now the team is seeking to build a new stadium in Santa Clara, near the Paramounts Great America amusement park and the Santa Clara Convention Center. Santa Clara is in San Francisco’s South Bay area near San Jose.

“We’re excited to work with Santa Clara officials to discuss this project,” owner John York said. “Based on our initial analysis, Santa Clara has strong potential to deliver the game-day experience our fans deserve.”

He said the team would not change its name under any circumstances.

“Nothing will persuade us to change the name of the San Francisco 49ers, one of the most storied brands in the world of sports,” he said.

The 49ers headquarters and training facility are based in Santa Clara, about 30 miles south of San Francisco.

The team’s current lease at Candlestick runs through the 2008 season, and the team holds three five-year options that could extend it through 2023.

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