SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) – A 300-foot crane lifted a pair of gold-painted steel beams Thursday to top out the highest point of the planned $1.2 billion Santa Clara stadium that the team’s chief executive said would be a “software-driven” venue when the San Francisco 49ers start playing there in 2014.

City officials, 49ers executives and hundreds of construction workers watched as the beams — one holding an American flag, the other a Christmas tree — were bolted into place to commemorate the completion of steel framing on the 1.85 million-square-foot stadium that broke ground in April.

Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews and San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York headlined the pre-topping ceremony, as the officials, executives and workers took turns using Sharpie felt pens to sign the beams.

“What a great day for history here in Santa Clara, a truly great project,” Matthews said.

“We are going to keep working, we are looking forward to the next milestone,” York said.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

The stadium, to hold 68,500 fans, including 9,000 club seats and 165 luxury boxes, is now about 90 percent complete, with the concrete work, seating and other internal parts of the stadium to go before it’s ready for the 49ers’ pre-season games in 2014, York said.

The topping out is a milestone in the NFL team’s move from its current home at aging Candlestick Park in San Francisco 45 miles south to Tasman Drive in Santa Clara, York said.

“This is going to be almost three times the size of Candlestick,” York said. “We want to this to be the best outdoor entertainment experience.”

York, noting the planned stadium’s location within the Silicon Valley technology industry corridor, described ambitious plans for a “software-driven stadium,” where fans use their smartphones during games for things like watching instant replays and making cashless payments for food and drinks at concession stands.

“It’s more than just building an app,” York said. “It’s watching plays from different camera angles from your phone, the (NFL game replay) RedZone channel on your screen, fantasy football. You want fans to choose. You want 60,000 different experiences in this stadium.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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