After meeting for the first time today with officials from the city of Chula Vista, a Chargers representative said the team has agreed to begin examining potential sites for a new football stadium.

Special counsel Mark Fabiani said the team will meet further with city officials and potential development partners in the South Bay city after gauging the interest of elected officials during today’s meeting.

“The Chargers are going to continue to work hard to keep the team in the San Diego region, and the mayor and deputy mayor of Chula Vista have ideas about how we might work together to accomplish that goal,” Fabiani said.

Present at the meeting were: Fabiani, team President Dean Spanos, Mayor Steve Padilla and Councilman John McCann. (See the This Just In entry below for McCann’s comments.)

The team has already spoken with HomeFed Corp., owner of 3,000 undeveloped acres in the Otay Ranch area of Chula Vista. The team will now likely proceed with face-to-face meetings with the Carlsbad-based developer now that city officials appear interested.

Fabiani said the team will likely pursue a financing model close to that of the one that was proposed for Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley.

“We continue to believe that the concept introduced by us at Qualcomm – and now being copied by sports teams around the country – is still the concept that is likely to be successful in San Diego County: Take an underutilized piece of land, put the burden on the private sector to take the land and turn a profit, and use the profit to finance a stadium,” he said.

Officials say no financing specifics were discussed in the meeting. It’s unknown what the city could be asked to contribute, though zoning changes, infrastructure additions or tax breaks could all be possibilities if the city is unwilling to put in cash, as officials have said.

The Chargers will conduct a marketability study of any site outside of the city of San Diego if a specific site is located, Fabiani said.

What’s next? A visit by Chargers officials to evaluate specific sites in Chula Vista. The team also plans to continue meeting with county supervisors, too.


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