We’ve now known for a while that the Chula Vista stadium study released officially today narrows the options down to two sites: the current site of the South Bay Power Plant and raw land on the city’s east side located one mile east of State Route 125 along Hunte Parkway.

But now we’ve got the full report. I’ll be heading out for a 9:30 a.m. press conference with Chula Vista and Chargers officials.

In the meantime, here are some highlights:

  • On the power plant site: “Imagine the power plant replaced by a friendly modern NFL Stadium at the foot of the City on the Bayfront. This extravaganza could be the most powerful icon in the region.”

But the study notes that the power plant site would be complicated by the many overlapping government agencies that oversee both the land and the existing power plant.

  • On the eastside, or Otay, site: “… the land is unencumbered and the project can proceed at a pace that matches public and political will. Rarely in this country is there an opportunity to develop this variety of uses, to the highest sustainable degree possible, and re-shape the image of a city.”

Here, at the Otay site, transportation is the biggest obstacle. The area is currently undeveloped and not served by any bus or trolley routes. A four-lane private toll road, State Route 125, is scheduled to open this month, but would need to be expanded to accommodate stadium traffic.

Now, it’s important to note that this is not an economic analysis. While it is rather bullish on the positives of a stadium, it does not analyze any public contributions that would be made by local governments to help finance the stadium nor does it calculate what would be a good deal for the team or the public.

It is a land-use analysis that looked at four specific sites in Chula Vista and winnowed those down to two. The study lays out the plusses and minuses of both sites, most of which were understood beforehand.

The report steals some of its flavor from the 1998 proposition that led to the Padres’ Petco Park in emphasizing that the development would offer more than just a stadium. It talks about integrating a stadium into the neighborhood so that it isn’t a hulking, isolated structure.

The report, paid for by the Chargers on behalf of Chula Vista, cheers the idea of a partnership between the two entities:

The choice to be made will determine the character of Chula Vista’s quality long into the future. Each site offers the opportunity to balance the need for revenues to the Chargers and the City, and to provide a new viable, vibrant destination. The full integration of sports venues within the city fabric is the way of the future across the country and Chula Vista has a real opportunity to illustrate the partnership, opportunity and construction of the most unique sports centered district to be realized.

It also underscores the potential costs of moving the stadium from Mission Valley, where it’s stood since 1967, to a location that hasn’t been planned as a stadium site.

For instance, it’s estimated that improvements to the trolley, including a new stop at L Street and additional signaling and power systems, would cost $100 million for the power plant site. Likewise, expanding SR-125 from a four-lane to a six-lane highway would cost $200 million, according to the report.

Lastly, some figures. The report envisions:

  • A 64,000 seat stadium, with capabilities to expand to 72,000 seats.
  • Ninety percent of patrons coming from north of Chula Vista.
  • The first season in a new stadium may start by 2013.
  • An ideal 70/30 percent split between stadiumgoers arriving in vehicles and mass transit, respectively. However, it states that the power plant site would likely fall short of the 15,000 needed parking spots by about 1,500, leaving the split at 64/36. The Otay site could hold 25,000 spots, leaving the mix anywhere from 85/15 to 100/0.

I’ll be back shortly to relay the comments from officials at the press conference and others.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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