Less than two weeks after California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill approving the building of a new football stadium in the city of Los Angeles, another new California stadium’s rise used the legal system to avoid road blocks, this time in the city of Santa Clara. The Santa Clara City Council voted 5-2 Tuesday night approving the use of a newly passed state exemption that allows the bypassing of city competitive bidding rules.
Unlike the Los Angeles stadium, the Santa Clara stadium has a host team, the San Francisco 49ers. The reason for the vote was the team’s claim that the project might be in jeopardy if its desired contractor did not get the job. If the council had voted against the exemption, the project would have gone to the lowest bidder. The stadium has an estimated cost of $937 million, $823 million of which will be paid for by the 49ers.
A spokeswoman for the 49ers said, “We have committed to covering the construction cost overruns. That is something that we are only willing to do if we are working with an architect and design-build contractor that we have confidence in.”
The exemption is possible because of a new state law, introduced by state Sen. Elaine Alquist, D-Santa Clara, that gave a one-time exemption to the city’s competitive bidding requirements. Had the exemption not been passed, it would have likely been put before voters. At this point, the stadium is set to start construction in 2010 and open by 2014.
See the stadium proposal here: http://santaclaraca.gov/pdf/collateral/49ers-20070424-stadium-proposal.pdf
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Matthew Coller is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, and is a freelance writer. He can be followed on Twitter
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