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Chargers Unveil Stadium Plan

August 21, 2003|Sam Farmer | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — The Chargers, who have yet to get traction in their push for a new stadium, officially unveiled a plan Wednesday to pay for the $400-million venue themselves in exchange for the development rights to the land around it.

The Chargers want to build a new stadium on the existing Qualcomm Stadium site, and use the rest of the 166 acres for housing, retail businesses, a hotel and 30 acres of parkland. The city would own the stadium and the land it sits on, but the team would collect all the revenue from its games. The village-like development surrounding the venue would be paid for in large part by the increased property taxes it would generate.

"This is a concept we believe is feasible," said Mark Fabiani, the Chargers' point man on new stadium issues. "It's a first step. To turn it into a reality will take an intensive public process that will require a couple of years at least."

There was no reaction from San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy, who, like the members of the City Council, is on vacation until Sept. 2. A representative from Murphy's office said the mayor has yet to see the proposal.

Team officials say they would like to get a stadium proposal on the ballot in 2006. To help clear the way for that, the Chargers have offered to do away with the controversial "ticket guarantee," which requires the city to pay for unsold general-admission tickets and has cost taxpayers more than $30 million since it was instituted in 1995.

Although they triggered the renegotiation clause in their lease in March, the Chargers twice have agreed to extend their good-faith negotiation period with the city. That period now runs through May 1, 2004, but team officials have indicated they want to see progress soon or they officially will begin exploring their options in Los Angeles. The Chargers can talk to other cities while negotiating with San Diego but cannot present San Diego with a competing offer until the current negotiating period ends.

"Progress is something you know when you see it," Fabiani said. "We certainly haven't seen any yet."

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