Well, get your hard hats ready. After a decade and a half of talk, the 49ers are just about set to begin construction on their new billion dollar stadium in Santa Clara, California. Although it was considered mostly a formality, the Santa Clara Stadium Authority voted 7-0 to approve the $850 million loan that will be used to help pay for the stadium. The Authority approved the loan as well as a 40-year lease agreement with the 49ers.
The $850 million will be loaned to the Stadium Authority and the 49ers Stadium Development Company, and, as required by the recent ballot measure, will have no impact on the City's General Fund. Revenues from the sale of naming rights, "Stadium Builders Licenses" (SBLs), suites and additional sources will be used to repay the loan. That "additional sources" includes the hoped for money from the NFL's fund formerly known as the G3 fund.
The team is hoping to have construction done in time for the start of the 2014 season. It remains to be seen if they can meet that goal given the time that can be required for stadium construction. Every stadium is different in certain respects so any timeline comparison does need to be taken with a grain of salt. For Cowboys Stadium, the team broke ground in September 2005 and opened the stadium in May 2009. For the Giants/Jets MetLife Stadium, the teams broke ground in September 2007 and opened the stadium in April 2010.
On the other hand, the folks who bulldozed and rebuilt Stanford Stadium completed the project in less than a year. Again, it was a much different style of project, but with the right amount of money and quality construction crews, anything is possible, I suppose. My money is on a 2015 opening for the 49ers new stadium, and maybe I will be pleasantly surprised by an earlier opening.