San Francisco's city center isn't the only place undergoing unprecedented changes. While the 49ers play out their season in the much warmer (and tech-nerd-friendly) new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, their former home, Candlestick Park, is about to be replaced by an outlet center and residential community. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Candlestick Point will become home to a $1 billion, 500,000-square-foot “urban outlet” shopping center and housing development. The plans are being developed by homebuilder Lennar, which lost an effort to build a new stadium in the city a few years back, and by retail developer Macerich. They would include retail, restaurants, a marketplace, movie theaters, a performance venue and hotel, and 6,000 rental and for-sale homes. Much of the property would maintain a city-like profile (street line, mixed heights, styles and materials) and be covered by outdoor pedestrian walkways, plantings, and fountains, but nobody is calling this a groundbreaking break from formula. And to 49ers fans, they will never replace the days of tailgating and Raider bashing. The facility would not only serve the residents at Candlestick, but at the Nearby Hunters Point Shipyard property, where Lennar is building a large residential development. Candlestick now joins Bay Meadows racetrack in San Mateo as former sports facilities to become new communities. Meanwhile the Oakland County Coliseum (somehow) still remains.
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San Jose Mercury News columnist (and frequent AN contributor) Alan Hess took on HNTB's Levi's Stadium, the new $1.3 billion home of the San Francisco 49ers. Hess compares the "starkly utilitarian," 68,500 seat stadium to Silicon Valley's high tech environments, and even to its high-end gadgets. The building "translates the high-def experience of a game we see on TV—the roaring crowd, the superhuman action of the players, the intense color of the grass under the TV-studio lighting, the camaraderie of loyal 49ers fans celebrating (or commiserating) en masse—into an enormous three-dimensional architectural spectacle," Hess wrote. Innovations include club seats (including 170 luxury suites) separated from the rest of the stadium bowl (and a lacy steel skeleton) to bring everybody closer to the field; food service via every smartphone; and a variety of viewing environments, including nine clubs. Of course it's all located inside Santa Clara's Great America Parkway, a "multiuse city of workplaces, entertainment, theme parks, convention center, schools and hotels, stitched together with light rail and cars." Other outlets seem to be equally impressed, at least with the stadium's novelty and gizmos. Time magazine called the stadium the "most high tech sports stadium yet," illustrating partnerships with tech companies like Sony, giant LED displays in both end zones, and wifi and 4G access for all fans. USA Today called it "massive and luxurious," a shiny new antidote to "grungy" Candlestick Park, the Niners' former home, with its "wide concourses and expansive views of the South Bay." And SFist, a little bothered by the lack of shade, liked the solar panels that will power the stadium for all of its home games. But the same reporter, Daisy Barringer, had an interesting comment. Unlike Candlestick Park, which had a decidedly unique mid-century character (and flaws), the new stadium feels a little more, well, normal. "It's just another NFL stadium," said Barringer. Click here for a live view of the stadium.
After being on hold since its approval in June 2010 it looks like the San Francisco 49ers new stadium is finally moving forward. On Friday the team announced it had secured financing for the $1 billion project, located next to Great America theme park in downtown Santa Clara. According to the San Jose Mercury News the money is coming from Goldman Sachs, U.S. Bank, and Bank of America. The 68,500-seat stadium, designed by HNTB, will get fans closer to the field by replacing the traditional tiered bowl with a tower of suites and club spaces on its west side. Openings in the stadium will allow for exposed pedestrian plazas as well as views into and out of the building. It is one of several now being proposed for the state, as we reported a few months ago. But it's the first to actually move ahead. With design already drawn up construction could start as soon as the middle of next year.