By Robert Haugh
Last week, we reported that the 49ers wanted to give the City a basement room with no windows or bathrooms as a so-called “community room” which they promised in the stadium deal. On Tuesday, the Board said no way.
This made us wonder: are the 49ers politically tone deaf, or are they just bad at stadium design?
According to SanJoseInside.com, Levi’s Stadium may have been designed for the Candlestick Park site and just plopped down in Santa Clara without major changes. And team co-owner John York (Jed’s dad) was partially responsible for the poor design.
The Ringer, a nationally acclaimed sports magazine, says Levi’s Stadium is a “billion dollar blunder” for the following reasons:
- the field turf is bad … at least it was the first couple of seasons,
- there’s no shade for lots of fans because of the north-south alignment,
- traffic and parking are poorly managed,
- there are FAA conflicts with the airport,
- it’s really expensive for SBL holders and regular fans, and
- stadium security has been inadequate to handle fan rowdiness and violence.
“Perhaps the biggest issue with the stadium, though, is one that can’t be quantified,” concludes the Ringer’s Rodger Sherman. People just don’t like the damn stadium … there’s no telling whether fans will ever feel at home in the billion-dollar blunder.”
Apparently, the team may agree. We’ve heard from a couple sources close to the 49ers that they know they need to fix some big problems, especially the shade issue. They say that 49ers’ COO Al Guido is in charge of making it happen. Guido is the point person for the team’s most controversial and not-so-smart decisions having to do with the stadium and the city.
The plan may be to build structures like the Miami Dolphins “shade canopy.” The Dolphin’s added shade and renovated their stadium for about $500 million.
So, the 49ers may come forward soon to ask the Stadium Authority to issue hundreds of millions of new tax-exempt debt to fix Levi’s Stadium. Wow. But that’s not likely to happen without a huge voter backlash. But if it does, let’s hope they add some money to include bathrooms and windows for the so-called community room.