Southern California breaking news and trends

Approval process for Farmers Field continues despite a legal challenge

Frank Stoltze/KPCC

Football fan Mike Griffin was among those who attended Thursday's Planning Commission meeting to express support for the Farmers Field project.

The proposed football stadium in downtown Los Angeles cleared a key hurdle Thursday night when the city Planning Commission unanimously approved AEG’s plans for the 76,000-seat complex known as Farmers Field.

The meeting went on for 10 hours, after nearly 100 people spoke during the public hearing. Also on Thursday, a City Council committee reviewed the rising price tag for the Convention Center wing that would have to be demolished to make way for the stadium. That committee also heard a cautionary note about a pending lawsuit that could scuttle the entire project.

But on this night, the Planning Commission was not daunted.

“This is catalytic for the entire city of L.A.,” Planning Commissioner Robert Lessin said of the project, which AEG anticipates will create 12,000 temporary construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs — in addition to bringing professional football back to L.A.

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LA City Council reduces time for public comment on Farmers Field

AEG

The L.A. City Council voted to reduce the period for public comment on the Farmers Field plan. City officials said the decision was made to fit in with the NFL's timeline.

The period for public comment on the City of L.A.'s final agreement with the developers of Farmers Field was shortened Tuesday by the city council. City officials said shortening the time frame by a week was necessary because of a need to fit into the NFL’s timeline for considering a franchise in Los Angeles.

The city council is expected to give final approval to the Anschutz Entertainment Group’s proposed stadium on Sept. 28. Typically the city allows 24 days for the public to comment on an agreement. The council voted unanimously Tuesday to reduce that period to 17 days, beginning immediately. The city's chief legislative analyst said this would allow enough time to resolve any environmental concerns before the NFL decides in March whether to relocate a team to Los Angeles. 

Farmers Field is a proposed 76,000-seat stadium to be built next to Staples Center and L.A. Live. The plan is to build it on land currently occupied in part by the Convention Center’s West Hall.

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Changes proposed to draw more visitors to Los Angeles Convention Center

AEG

A report on how to overhaul operations at the Los Angeles Convention Center comes as AEG is proposing to knock down the West Hall to make way for a football stadium.

Los Angeles city officials want the convention center to move away from local trade shows and focus on larger conventions that draw out-of-state visitors, but whether privatization will be a part of that equation remains up in the air for now.

A proposal to overhaul operations at the convention center was presented Monday afternoon to the City Council's Budget and Finance Committee.

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana recommended hiring a private manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of the business, though he noted that change alone would not improve the convention business in Los Angeles. Privatization would, however, save the City of L.A. as much as $37 million over a five-year period, according to Santana.

A representative for SEIU Local 721’s Professional Managers Association questioned why improvements couldn’t be made with the current structure that's in place.

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Report calls for privatization of Los Angeles Convention Center

Convention Center

Anschutz Entertainment Group

A new city report recommends privatizing management of the Los Angeles Convention Center. The recommendation comes as the Anschutz Entertainment Group is planning to rebuild part of the center to make room for the football stadium, Farmers Field.

The City of Los Angeles could save millions of dollars a year by turning over its Convention Center to a private manager, according to a report released today.

Privatizing the Convention Center would save between $14 million and $37 million over a five-year period, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana wrote in the report to the mayor and Los Angeles City Council. It would also give Los Angeles a management structure similar to those in Chicago, Detroit and San Francisco. 

“Privatizing management is a clear indication that the LACC is committed to improving its competitiveness in the marketplace,” Santana added. 

In 2010-11, 11 percent of the Convention Center’s business attracted significant numbers of out-of-town guests. In other major cities, that figure is closer to 60 percent, according to the report. 

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Farmers Field proposal to add exhibit space at Los Angeles Convention Center

Convention Center

Anschutz Entertainment Group

The proposed football stadium and new Pico Hall would add more than 100,00 square feet of exhibition space to the Los Angeles Convention Center.

If plans move forward for the Farmers Field football stadium in downtown Los Angeles, the city’s Convention Center is likely to see its overall space increase by more than 200,000 square feet, a city council committee was told today.

The Anschutz Entertainment Group wants to build Farmers Field next to its L.A. Live entertainment complex on a piece of land that is currently home to the Convention Center’s West Hall. Construction plans call for the demolition of the West Hall, which would then be replaced with Pico Hall, a building that would be contiguous with the rest of the Convention Center.

“When you have all the activity around L.A. Live, it’s basically creating its own universe around this facility,” said Councilman Ed Reyes, a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Proposed Downtown Stadium.

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