SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana’s business group has been given the go-ahead to lease land in California for a luxury hotel project.

   The Santa Clara City Council voted 5-1 on Tuesday to enter exclusive negotiations with the Hall of Famer’s business group, which wants to lease land across the street from the site of the 49ers planned stadium.

   Councilwoman Lisa Gillmor told the San Jose Mercury News that Montana and former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo have star power that will be invaluable to the project’s success.

   City Manager Jennifer Sparacino says the city should put the project out for a bid, which would elicit a better price and different project ideas.

   Montana’s group wants to have the hotel ready by 2015, when the stadium is scheduled to open.

   (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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