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May 2013: Dorothy Rosa, foreground, and fellow members of the Santa Clara chapter of the 49ers Booster Club after the 49ers were awarded the hosting of Super Bowl 50.

SANTA CLARA -- Dorothy Rosa, one of the most passionate 49ers stadium supporters in Santa Clara, wasn't going to miss her chance to meet the man she called "the greatest quarterback of all time."

Joe Montana had made a surprise appearance at Santa Clara City Hall on Tuesday night, sitting in the back and dressed in black as the City Council discussed his hotel project slated to be built across the street from the new stadium.

Rosa, 82, wearing a 49ers sweatshirt, stepped to the mic during the public comment period as she has dozens of times before in the last several years to support the stadium and its nearby projects.

"Joe," Rosa said to the audience, "would you make an old woman happy? May I shake your hand?"

"I don't know Joe, I ..." Mayor Jamie Matthews began -- but by then a roar had begun building in the packed council chambers.

Then, Montana, who hadn't said a word during the meeting, got up into the aisle and hugged Rosa as the crowd erupted in cheers.

"Looks like you got a little bit more than a handshake there, Dorothy," Matthews said.

The City Council then unanimously approved preliminary deals with Montana and his partners, as well as a second group of developers, for two projects that total $1.9 billion in cost and would span more than 5 million square feet across from Levi's Stadium.


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The non-binding term sheets are a relatively small but necessary step that allows for further negotiations and the beginning of environmental review for the projects. Both developers expect to be back before the council around November for final approval.

But it was Rosa who stole the show Tuesday night. After the vote, Montana pulled Rosa aside, into the bowels of City Hall to get away from the crowd, and took a picture with her.

"I tell you what, it was a hell of a night. It took me two hours to simmer down," Rosa, a small fiery woman who campaigned to help convince voters to bring the stadium to Santa Clara in 2010. "Wasn't that amazing? I was so thrilled."

Montana's project includes 622,000 square feet of hotels, offices and shops on 8.5 acres, with the goal to open in time for the 50th Super Bowl to be played at the 49ers' new Levi's Stadium in February 2016.

The other project, by Related Development, is much bigger and will take all decade to build: It would span 230 acres on what is now a golf course across from the stadium and would include homes, shops and offices.

Although the projects have been in the works for years, city officials unveiled a few new details at Tuesday night's meeting.

City Manager Julio Fuentes said he expects the value of the projects to total $3.3 billion and that they would include 17,900 new parking spaces. Officials will also think about expanding the adjacent convention center by about 100,000 square feet.

Ruth Shikada, the city's economic development officer, says the projects would net the city $14.7 million in annual tax revenue, employ 2,700 workers during construction and provide 17,300 permanent jobs.

Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705. Follow him at twitter.com/RosenbergMerc.