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Politics, government and public life for Southern California

City Hall looks at Convention Center improvements regardless of stadium deal

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Los Angeles was promised a revamped Convention Center from a private developer if pro football returns to the city. But without any word from the NFL, city leaders are looking at Plan B. 

The City of Los Angeles has a deal with Anschutz Entertainment Group for a new convention hall, but it’s contingent on the developer bringing a pro football team back to L.A. and building the Farmers Field stadium. To do so, part of the existing convention center would have to be demolished and AEG has proposed building a new wing.  

But not only is there no team in sight, but AEG is also facing a deadline with the city – October, 2014. Rather than wait 18 months to come up with an alternative plan, city leaders are looking at what they can do now to improve the Convention Center.

A panel of experts from the Urban Land Institute presented its findings for what would make a successful convention space at a Thursday meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Downtown Stadium and Convention Center Renovation. A marquee entrance, more hotel rooms and a giant ballroom as well as better public transportation would all make for an improved convention space, they said. 

Councilwoman Jan Perry said she wants to compare those findings with the city's agreement with AEG to determine which projects can start right away.

"I want to basically just extract everything that we can that is not obligated under the development agreement with AEG to see what's left," Perry said. "See if there's some movement we can start on now."

Even though L.A.’s elected officials are looking for what improvements they can do on their own, the councilwoman says they haven’t given up hope of bringing the NFL back to town.

"Hopefully we’ll be happily surprised," Perry said. 

Perry, whose district includes the convention center, has been a major booster of AEG's plan. But she is termed out and will be replaced on July 1 by State Senator Curren Price.

 

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