The Silicon Valley Voice

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Stadium Parking Issue to “Be Successfully Resolved in Near Future,” Says Montana

A resolution is imminent for the 789 Levi’s Stadium parking spots that will be displaced by Joe Montana’s Centennial Gateway development on Tasman Dr., according to a May 15 statement from Montana himself.

“We have been actively engaged in constructive, ongoing discussions with the San Francisco 49ers on the issue of parking at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara,” Montana said. “We understand the 49ers entered into a Parking Rights Agreement allowing them certain rights to the Tasman Lots. We have every reason to believe that this issue will be successfully resolved in the very near future.”

Also on Wed., Mission College announced that it has inked a parking deal with Levi’s Stadium to provide an additional 2,250 parking spaces in return for a portion of the parking proceeds. These will be used to improve the college’s roadways and parking areas.

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The bottom line is: with over 25,000 spaces secured there’s ample parking available for the stadium’s opening season,and a replacement for the Tasman spaces will be found well in advance of the 2016 Super Bowl.

Development Plans Outpace Parking Commitments

The real crux of the parking question is that development proposals have leapfrogged ahead of parking plans. The stadium term sheet was approved in 2010, when the Tasman property was available for parking.

In June 2011, the City Council approved an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) with the Montana Group for the Tasman land – now called Centennial Gateway. That proposed replacing the Tasman parking with parking on the golf course driving range.

The following year, the city finalized a parking agreement with the 49ers* that specifically addressed the Tasman parking space set-aside, requiring any development eliminating them to include additional parking for stadium events at no additional charge.It further required the city to help identify sufficient replacement parking nearby, also at no charge; although the city is not ultimately responsible for the cost of making properties usable.

Finally, the contract adds, “The proposed terms of such agreements related to Stadium event parking…shall be subject to the approval of, [Stadium] Authority and StadCo.”

Then in April 2013, the City Council approved an ENA with Related Companies for development of the entire golf course.

So on Feb 10, 49ers EVP of Development, Larry MacNeil, wrote to Santa Clara City Manager Julio Fuentes to discuss the 2012 parking agreement. This was the SF Chronicle’s point of departure – both literally and figuratively – for its May 11 scare story about a 49ers “threat” to shut down Montana’s project. But MacNeil’s letter contained no such threat.

After congratulating the city on attracting projects that would “advance our shared vision of a vibrant retail and entertainment district surrounding Levi’s Stadium,” MacNeil wrote, “With respect to the Centennial Gateway project, we are sure that both the City and the Developer are mindful of the provisions of…the …Parking Rights Agreement.

“Although shared use of parking on the Centennial Gateway site is important, we know that this alone cannot replace the 789 stalls now located on the site,” he continued, concluding that the 49ers looked forward “to working together to identify City land for Stadium parking that can replace the 8.5 acre…site.”

MacNeil’s letter,City Manager Julio Fuentes, simply reiterated the city’s contractual obligation, no more. In his March 26 response, Fuentes outlined 10 alternatives to replace Tasman parking.

MacNeil replied on May 8 that while the city’s “effort to advance the discussion of potential replacement parking for the Tasman Surface lots is helpful and …a few of the sites…may be worth further exploration as potential remote parking locations, none would serve as replacement parking for the Tasman…lots.”

MacNeil noted that some of the sites are more than a mile away, some have water on them – for example, storm water retention basins – and others are properties the city doesn’t own – such as San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy pipeline right-of-way south of the stadium.

The 49ers have expressed interest in the adjacent Youth Soccer Park, and, according to MacNeil’s letter, offered $7 million to build a replacement for it on another city site. However, “the soccer park is off the table,” says Fuentes. “The Council’s been very direct on this.”

“Those spaces have to be replaced if Montana does go forward. We understand and we get that. The problem can be mitigated, we can find alternatives, but we have to work together,” he says.

It’s important to remember that neither of these projects is scheduled to begin any time soon. Montana’s project won’t start until 2015, and Related’s project is unknown years in the future. That’s enough time to find a solution says Fuentes. “We’re partners. It’s not in anybody’s interest to fight over this.”

SF Chronicle’s Yellow Journalism Trademark

In 1897, William Randolph Hearst famously replied to a report from his artist in Cuba saying “there will be no war,” “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” Chronicle reporters Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross are today’s standard-bearers for Hearst-brand sensation-mongering headlines with little substance. Last week’s story was just their latest outing.

In 2007, they penned, “Trouble’s in the pipeline for 49ers’ move/S.F. owns land over water conduit at Santa Clara site.” The briefest consultation with a map would have revealed that the Hetch Hetchy conduit lies south of the stadium. This April they offered the sure-to-surprise “Plan To Separate California Into 6 States May Be On Hold Until 2016.” And recently they authored the ‘don’t think of a purple cow’ story, “FBI reportedly eyed Joe Montana, then dropped probe.”

* santaclaraca.gov/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=7041, section 2.1(c).

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