There are two votes on Los Angeles's potential new football stadium this week. The first vote comes Monday, when the Los Angeles City Council’s Ad Hoc Stadium Committee conducts what's expected to be its final meeting.
Councilwoman Jan Perry, who chairs the committee, made it sound like it was a done deal.
“Monday’s meeting will be the culmination of nearly two years of work on a project that will create over 30,000 new jobs, allow the city to update our Convention Center and bring football back to Los Angeles while protecting our taxpayers,” said Perry, who happens to represent the downtown area where the stadium would be built.
Under the deal, the city would issue bonds to raise money for Anschutz Entertainment Group to tear down the West Hall of the convention center next to Staples Center (which AEG also owns). AEG would rebuild a bigger and better convention wing next door, construct a 76,000-seat stadium on the site of the old West Hall and repay the bonds with special tax revenue from the area and lease payments. Its more complicated, but that's it in a nutshell.
Of course AEG threw a hitch in the whole proposal when owner Phil Anschutz announced he was selling the company. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who apparently was the only person at City Hall who knew Anschutz was going to sell, said the reclusive Denver billionaire promised him that he would find a buyer who'll agree to the same terms.
You can be sure the Ad Hoc Committee will ask about that when AEG President Tim Leiweke, the man who has driven this deal all along, testifies Monday. The meeting is at 9 a.m. in City Council chambers. Here's the agenda.
At the meeting, the committee will consider the final transaction documents, Environmental Impact Report (EIR), Development Agreement (DA) and the project’s Community Benefits Agreement.
The meeting will be broadcast live on the city's cable TV channel 35, and streamed on LACityview.org.
The second important vote this week comes Friday, when the full City Council considers the stadium proposal.
With the promise of thousands of temporary construction and permanent stadium jobs, council members have been enthusiastic about AEG's plan. They are hoping the upgraded convention center and stadium will attract more big conventions to L.A. and as many as seven new downtown hotels.
Stadium critics say the city has failed to force AEG to adequately address traffic and pollution issues. They're also concerned about the project running up rents in the area and driving out affordable housing. They’ve gone to court to slow down the approval process.
AEG's possible sale is “a great opportunity for the council to slow things down,” said Eric Ares of the Play Fair Farmers Field Coalition.
The company has been pushing the city to approve the deal by the end of the month. That would give it time to settle any legal challenges by February under special state legislation that expedites lawsuits against the stadium.
In February, NFL teams are free to shop for new cities. NFL owners would have to approve any move.
Developer Ed Roski is lobbying to get a team at a site in the City of Industry, but it's thought owners prefer downtown L.A.
If all goes as planned by the city, and that's a big if, whatever company buys AEG would break ground on a new stadium next year and professional football would return to L.A. in the fall of 2017.