Walls are coming down and funds are coming in in preparation for the 49ers' billion-dollar stadium in Santa Clara. Team President Jed York announced, via Twitter, that the NFL had given the green light for $200 million to be spent toward the 49ers' 68,000-seat venue, which will be ready before the 2015 season and perhaps a year earlier.
"With the NFL's muscle now behind the new stadium, we are moving forward," York said in a statement. "I expect an official ground-breaking ceremony very soon. Get your hard hats ready; we are embarking on the path to the next generation of 49ers football."
The 49ers' facility is the first to be funded under a new loan program that came about as part of the new collective bargaining agreement last year. Under the old program, teams received $150 million in loans.
In early December, the team secured $850 million in loans from Goldman Sachs, U.S. Bank and Bank of America. That money is expected to be repaid from revenue generated by ticket sales, suite sales, sponsorships and naming-rights deals. In addition, the city of Santa Clara's redevelopment agency will contribute about $40 million. A hotel tax will add another $35 million.
Work already has begun on the project as surveyors have been busy measuring distances on the parking lot on which the stadium will be built. Earlier this week, a wall at the 49ers' current practice facility, which will be built into the new stadium, was demolished. Groundbreaking on the stadium is expected to begin later this year.
-- Matt Barrows