Chargers: Public money likely needed to build downtown stadium

SAN DIEGO -- The Chargers said Thursday that they probably need public money to build a new stadium on a downtown site just east of Petco Park.

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The team has said since 2002 that it wants to privately finance stadium construction, although it has sought a piece of public land to develop and help pay for the stadium.

Previous sites under consideration would have accommodated both a stadium and a related development project, the profits from which would help pay for the costs of the stadium.

Chargers attorney Mark Fabiani said Thursday that because the downtown site is just bigger than 10 acres, it would accommodate just the stadium and no related development to help pay for the stadium. That would require other sources of funding, in addition to $200 million from the Chargers and a hoped-for $100 million loan from the NFL, Fabiani said.

Fabiani said the team, which plays at aging Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley, wants to put any stadium measure onto a public ballot.

Fabiani said it's too soon to say what other funding sources might be available. A redevelopment agency is sponsoring a financing study.

"Nonetheless, we believe it is important for everyone to understand that the downtown site might require some sort of taxpayer subsidy," Fabiani said.

Such a subsidy would only be possible if voters agree that a downtown investment will result in significant returns for taxpayers elsewhere, Fabiani said. The city could save the $300 million or more that taxpayers will pay through 2020 to maintain Qualcomm Stadium, Fabiani said, and the city could sell, lease or otherwise generate hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue from the 166-acre Qualcomm site.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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