49ers secure funding for new stadium

Santa Clara is nearly an hour's drive from San Francisco, 45 miles to the southeast. Officials say major funding was the last key piece of the project. Courtesy of Google Maps

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The 49ers are a big step closer to moving from San Francisco to a new stadium about 45 miles south in Santa Clara.

The team and City of Santa Clara announced on Friday that they have secured long-awaited funding for the project.

Goldman Sachs, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and U.S. Bank have agreed to an $850 million loan with the city's stadium authority and the 49ers.

The money will cover the bulk of the estimated $1 billion project.

Funding from the National Football League, a hotel tax and city redevelopment funds is expected to make up the difference.

Officials say the loans were the last major piece of the project. The goal is to open the new stadium in 2015.

In June 2010, Santa Clara voters passed a plan by the 49ers to build the 68,500-seat stadium.

Under the agreement with the team, the city and area hotels would contribute $114 million to the $937 million project next to Great America theme park.

Jed York, president and CEO of the 49ers, has said he is hoping to start construction in January 2013.

The York family is partnering with local real estate firm JMA Ventures to buy the Santa Clara theme park that had opposed the 49ers' new stadium plans.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.