Aug. 15--SANTA CLARA -- San Francisco 49ers fans yearning for the full red-and-gold experience when the team's new stadium opens next year will have to live without their idol Joe Montana's new project going up across the street -- at least for a while.
The Hall of Famer originally wanted his four-star hotel, upscale restaurant and sports bar to open with the stadium in August 2014. But the new goal is to have the project open in time for the 50th Super Bowl, to be held in Levi's Stadium in February 2016.
After more than a year of negotiations, Montana and his business partners, who include former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., have been unable to reach a deal with Santa Clara officials on the value of the city-owned land they plan to build on. In addition, a large, Santana Row-style project recently proposed for the stadium area by another developer has prompted more design work and planning on the hotel, city officials said.
Montana's group was scheduled to meet Wednesday with city leaders in a closed-door meeting. But City Hall has yet to receive any formal blueprints on the concept, first proposed nearly three years ago.
"Normally with projects like this, people are on it and they are really fast," city spokesman Dan Beerman said. "It's not been the case with them for whatever reason."
While the setback means the $1.3 billion stadium will open without the complete entertainment vibe the Niners were hoping for, city leaders and Montana's group are still optimistic the project will work out.
"Would I like to have everything done today? Absolutely," said Mayor Jamie Matthews. But "it'll be a wonderful project. I don't think the star power of Joe Montana will ever subside. He's one of the legendary figures of all time."
Rob Mezzetti, Montana's attorney, said their relationship with city officials has been positive despite the holdup. "The project is going strong," Mezzetti said in a brief email confirming the delay.
Mezzetti did not respond to requests for further comment. And the 49ers declined to comment.
After the project was proposed in December 2010, the Santa Clara City Council shunned the city manager's recommendation to bid the property for all developers and decided instead to negotiate exclusively with Montana in June 2012. Council members said they were wowed by Montana's celebrity-status after the two-time NFL MVP and four-time Super Bowl champion personally pitched his vision at a public council meeting in 2011.
But they've been unable to reach a lease deal on the two city-owned parcels totaling seven acres on Tasman Drive. The negotiations, which were supposed to last a year but have taken 14 months, may stretch into 2014, city officials said.
Last year, then-City Manager Jennifer Sparacino warned that there was still a ton of work to do before the project could open with the stadium. "Under the best of circumstances that'll be a challenge," she said at the time.
One issue is that the 49ers have needed part of the land to stage construction equipment while building the stadium. Then a new wrinkle arose in April, when mega-developer Related Companies proposed an entertainment, shopping and retail project across 230 acres bordering the site of the Montana hotel.
Matthews said the ex-quarterback's project is now envisioned as the "gateway" to the bigger development, which required rethinking the design.
"It's a good thing it's been delayed," Matthews said, "because it gives us an opportunity to come up with a comprehensive plan" for the area.
Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705. Follow him at twitter.com/RosenbergMerc.