Chula Vista city officials squired representatives from the San Diego Chargers about town this morning to view potential stadium sites in the South Bay city.

The delegation started at City Hall, traveled along the Chula Vista bayfront, passed through the heart of town and out to Eastlake to take a look at private land near the U.S. Olympic Training Center and the Lower Otay Reservoir.

Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani, who accompanied team president Dean Spanos on the trip, said the Eastlake location was “a great piece of land.” The parcel, he said, was attractive because it had a clear view of the reservoir and would be able to piggyback on some of the infrastructure projects that are planned to accommodate the construction of a nearby university campus – such as the extension of State Route 125 and a dedicated bus lane.

Also, Fabiani said he recognized that “there is no appetite” for the use of public dollars to build a stadium. Negotiating for the Eastlake land, which is held by Home Fed Corp., would more likely excuse lawmakers from having to bargain with tax dollars to lure the team there.

“There’s no public money for a project like this,” Fabiani said.

Fabiani said he accepted that land along the bayfront would be harder to obtain for the purposes of building a stadium, as the land there has been staked out for a convention center and resort complex.

“That seems like something that’s passed us by,” Fabiani said. “Until we hear differently from the community here, it’s on the back burner.”

Chula Vista Mayor Steve Padilla and Councilman John McCann remained optimistic that their jurisdiction was the best government in the region to handle the Chargers, but remained guarded. The football team should not use the city as a pawn in its quest to get a new stadium, they said.

“One of our concerns is that the city is not played off as a shill in order to get a better deal with another city,” McCann said. “We’re not looking to get into a bidding war. We’re looking at what we have to offer.”

Fabiani said he did not want to compare the HomeFed property to the other prospective sites – most prominently, the National City bayfront – so soon in the process.


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