SBD/September 20, 2011/Facilities

49ers Owners Investing In Purchase Of Great America Theme Park

Great America is adjacent to the 49ers' proposed stadium site
The 49ers are “going into the theme park business, investing in a $70 million deal to buy the Great America theme park -- and bumping out of the way one of its biggest opponents to building its new stadium in Santa Clara: the park's current owner,” according to Fernandez & Mintz of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Teaming up with S.F.-based real estate firm JMA Ventures to buy Great America "will pay off immediately on one front: eliminating the park's owner, Cedar Fair Entertainment, and its lingering lawsuit to hold up the $1 billion stadium deal.” JMA Ventures in a statement “praised the prospect of pairing Great America with the 49ers stadium, a stark departure from public comments by Cedar Fair officials who have expressed concern that an NFL stadium could damage the park's business and create parking headaches for park patrons.” The level of the 49ers' investment in Great America has not been disclosed, but sources said that “the price tag was tied to the park's revenue estimates, and sealing the sale allows the team to secure crucial control over how park operations relate to the stadium” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/20). In S.F., JK Dineen noted the purchase of the Great America property would end the lawsuit and the “parking proceeds from the Great America lot could also generate revenue for the team.” Former 49ers President Carmen Policy said, “Now I think with some serious luck and some very creative financing opportunities and an attractive win and loss record, the Niners might be able to get that stadium built as a one team stadium” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 9/19). However, also in S.F., Will Kane notes opponents of the plan "are still skeptical.” Financing the stadium “remains a major question, and the price tag has grown by $50 million over the past year, sending the cost to nearly $1 billion” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/20).
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