ANAHEIM, Calif. — The hope of an NFL team returning to the Los Angeles area seems to be fading after city officials in Anaheim said they plan to sell a potential stadium site to a developer who plans to build shops and office towers.

"The NFL's train has left," councilwoman Lucille Kring said Wednesday. "It would cost the taxpayers too much money, and the return on the investment does not warrant it."

Anaheim is expected to officially end its chase of an NFL team in a few months when it sells the 53-acre stadium site to Archstone-Smith and Hines.

And, with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa saying last week that the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is no longer a viable option, NFL fans may have another season without a hometown team.

"It's a completely dead issue with us," Anaheim councilman Harry Sidhu said. "If there's any chance of this coming back, it'll have to be in discussions with Archstone and the NFL."

Archstone officials declined to say whether they would be interested in continuing to negotiate with the NFL once they purchase the land, but one of the company's plans incorporates an NFL stadium.

There have been discussions about an NFL team playing in Anaheim but when the estimate to build a stadium topped $1 billion, city officials shied away from the project.

The city gave exclusive development rights to Archstone in May.