Joe Montana wants to open a big hotel and entertainment center across the street from the 49ers’ new stadium in Santa Clara. But the team is threatening to block the entire project if Montana won’t give up some of that land for stadium parking. Those 789 parking spaces in dispute are the 21st Century equivalent of water rights on the open range, pitting a star quarterback against his former team. This could take all the luster off of old-timer’s day from now on.
The Niners are scheduled to open Levi’s Stadium in August, but right now they have practically zero parking (nice planning!) — so where are they going to put all their rich, connected luxury suite guests? Are they supposed to ride the train with the unwashed common fans? The Niners want those 789 parking spots that are now part on Montana land. According to the 2012 stadium deal, the 49ers are entitled to that property. San Francisco Chronicle:
“Their position has been that unless we find other parking acceptable to them, they may not allow the project to go forward,” said City Manager Julio Fuentes.
Just sharing parking spaces with the development won’t do, the team says. Niners President Larry MacNeil told city officials in a letter Feb. 10 that if Montana’s $400 million project goes ahead, Santa Clara needs to come up with 8.5 acres of replacement parking free of charge.
So far, the team has rejected most of 4,000 spaces that the city has proposed as too distant, too waterlogged or beset by other problems.
But wait … what about some nearby land currently being used for youth soccer fields? Certainly no one will object if the 49ers kick the kids off their fields.
One suggestion the team has informally floated is to use nearby youth soccer fields as a parking lot on game and event days – something the City Council says is out of the question.
“This is the beginning of the discussion,’ said Mayor Jamie Matthews. “I’m sure we will work through the issues.”
Well, you’ve got about three months.
Montana himself is looking over the site of the dispute in the photo below, showing an artist’s rendition of the exterior of the stadium.
Expect a hastily-raised photo of Bruce Collie to replace the Joe Montana picture on opening day.