San Francisco officials added the missing piece to their proposal to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games — plans for a new football stadium at Candlestick Point big enough to hold the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the popular track and field events.
Last month, members of the U.S. Olympic Committee met with Mayor Gavin Newsom and other members of San Francisco’s bid team and expressed concerns about The City’s ability to secure a size-appropriate venue for the centerpiece events.
In a previous, unsuccessful effort to win the 2012 Summer Games, the Bay Area’s Olympic bid committee proposed hosting the ceremonies and track events outside of The City, at Stanford University. Many thought that aspect of the plan contributed heavily to San Francisco losing the bid.
The 2016 plan, sent to U.S. Olympic officials Friday, shows a proposed new San Francisco 49er stadium that would include temporary bleacher seating to expand the 68,000-seat capacity — which was unveiled as part of plans for a new stadium in July — to provide space for 80,500 people. In addition, a plan to raise the ground level up through an elevated platform would provide the wider space needed to hold the track and field events in the football venue as well.
The ambitious plan already faces several obstacles — the most prominent being that the new 49ers stadium project has yet to be approved. Nearly 10 years ago, voters passed a different stadium plan, which would have provided $100 million and matched the sporting facility with a shopping mall. The project stalled, however, and the developer pulled out of the deal.
The revised plan, debuted last month by the 49ers, discards the mall component, adding instead residential and commercial development to the project, with a promise that the $600 million to $800 million stadium would be privately funded.
The park property, including nearby empty lots, is publicly owned land, and many city officials, including Mayor Gavin Newsom, have said it would be inappropriate not to bring the new plan back to the voters.
Newsom, in a statement for the press, said he appreciated 49ers owner John York and the work of the team’s architects for coming up with a "workable and smart solution that clearly strengthens our bid," while also noting that "the stadium ultimately depends on reaching consensus on a larger Candlestick project."