I certainly hope that the clown that overlooked this is not making any prominent decisions in free agency or the draft! This is truly an ironic moment. How do you starting putting together plans for an $800 million stadium and somehow overlook the fact that part of the land is owned by the city you're LEAVING.
The 4-acre ribbon of territory, on the site's southern edge just opposite the Great America amusement park, is where a pipeline carrying water from the Sierra to 2.4 million Bay Area customers is buried. The pipe, part of the Hetch Hetchy system, is owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
The significance of the pipeline went largely unnoticed until The Chronicle started asking questions at San Francisco City Hall, where officials then pulled up maps showing the pipe's pathway across the stadium site.
The land is now used for parking for Great America, which hopes to partner with the 49ers to build the stadium. The amusement park's owners had a five-year lease for the PUC land but allowed it to expire in 2004. Now they have a month-to-month deal, meaning San Francisco could terminate the agreement at any time.
Great America pays $100,000 a year for the property, and any long-term lease renewal could require approval from San Francisco's Board of Supervisors. Given the 49ers' interest in the site, the price tag could certainly be much higher.
It really seems like anything the York's do off the field blows up in their faces. I'd feel bad if it wasn't so pathetic.
Two questions now exist: 1)How can the city of San Francisco leverage this in their favor? and/or 2) How can the 49ers work their way out of this little jam over the next few years? Even if they do work something out, another problem exists in the coming years. The pipes are scheduled to be replaced as part of the Hetch Hetchy system overhaul in 2009/2010. The work is scheduled to take upwards of 2 or 3 years, which could run into the deadline of a 2012 stadium opening.
Nonetheless, the first issue will be resolving this with the city. We'll see how willing the Board of Supervisors is to negotiate. Nothing is EVER simple when it comes to Bay Area politics.