November 19, 2008

Bay Area stadium projects hinge on economy

Three sports teams in the San Francisco Bay Area say they are sticking to their plans to build new stadiums despite the soft economy.

The management of the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland A's and San Jose Earthquakes told the San Jose Mercury News that the credit crunch is expected to make the financing of their respective projects more difficult.

That raises the question of whether or not cash-strapped city governments will be asked to pony up additional funding if the teams can't raise the money on their own.

The A's and Earthquakes are owned by developer Lew Wolff, who had planned to pay for two new venues with revenues from new residential developments, but that was before the booming housing market went south.

But Wolff told the newspaper he was not concerned about building during a downtime.

The best building I've done has been in times when I shouldn't be building, Wolff said. We could easily put our plans on hold for two years, but that is the furthest thing from our minds.

The Niners' plans don't involve housing sales, but the Mercury News said they do involve a potentially hefty subsidy from the City of Santa Clara that must still be approved by city leaders and ultimately the taxpayers.