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AEG's Farmers Field Releases Environmental Report Thursday

Lauren Foliart |
April 4, 2012 | 8:34 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

The Farmers Field Stadium would be next to Staples Center, also owned by AEG (Creative Commons)
The Farmers Field Stadium would be next to Staples Center, also owned by AEG (Creative Commons)

The environmental impact report for downtown Los Angeles' proposed football stadium will be released online Thursday, setting in motion a 45-day window for public comment.

The 10,000 page EIR will address critical environmental issues regarding Farmers Field's affect on the surrounding downtown community.  Parking, transportation and traffic are among the 23 topics analyzed in the report, according to Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) spokesman Michael Roth.

"Everything with Farmers Field has been a public process," said Roth.  "This is a way to continue a very transparent project."

The privately funded $1 billion project looks to create 1,700,000 square foot stadium alongside L.A. Live and the STAPLES Center.  AEG hopes the stadium will provide a venue for a range of events, but most notably they intend to bring a professional football team back to Los Angeles.

Transportation and the stadium's accessibility to surrounding rail lines is one element of the EIR anticipated by the downtown community.  Congested intersections already pose major problems for the urban epicenter--a 78,000-seat stadium would only add to that.  

"Beginning with AEG investing approximately over 10 million dollars on the Pico station for the Blue Line, we feel that is a very important hub and a very important way people can get to Farmers Field, by leaving their cars at home," said Roth.

AEG's investment in surrounding public transit is one item on a long list of considerations to make Farmers Field a "green stadium."  Under law, the building's design must achieve LEED Certification, which would make it the first NFL stadium and only the fourth professional sports arena to attain such status. 

However, Roth acknowledges that people will find suggestions unmet in the EIR even though he ensures the 18 months it took to draft the report involved countless meetings with the City Planning Department and other city entities for complete consideration.

"There will probably be some questions to methodology and why we're proceeding in certain directions, but people differ in what topics are of interest to them," said Roth.

That's what AEG hopes will be discussed by the public in the 45 days following the report's release.

From there, AEG will enter a series of hearings at City Hall to receive the city's approval.  Roth expects this to last throughout the summer with all litigations resolved and met within a 175 day period. 

Rumored to start construction as early as March 2013, Farmers Field could its grand opening by 2016, according to the EIR.  Roth said the EIR also gives enough time to advertise AEG's stadium to prospective football teams and allow potential transfer negotiations to be worked out.

When asked if the report's release would trigger any dialogue with a national team, Roth responded unknowingly but did mention the window for transferring a team to Los Angeles will open at the end of this year.

"The EIR and obtaining a football team aren't necessarily connected," said Roth.  "But what the EIR being released and ultimately approved will show the NFL is that there would be absolutely no obstacles anywhere to prevent a team from coming here."  

Reach reporter Lauren Foliart here.



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