L.A. Football Stadium Faces Crucial Hearing, New Lawsuit
The AEG-backed, $1.5 billion project aims to build a new 72,000-seat stadium in downtown adjacent to the L.A. Convention Center, which would face renovation under the proposed plan in order to modernize the 43-year-old building as well as generate more space to accommodate the stadium.
In conjunction with building the stadium, the plan also calls for the construction of two eight-story parking garages located on L.A. Live Way and Bond Street, a move that would entail a net increase of 1,112 parking spaces in the area. Additionally, AEG has proposed to pay for roughly $10 million in improvements to the Pico Blue Line station to better facilitate Metro rail traffic toward the stadium area and foster what they call “the most transit-friendly stadium in the country.”
Proponents of the plan argue that pro football itself just one of many benefits the project could bring to the city. State Sen. Curren Price (D-26th District) told the commission that the city stands to gain up to $400 million in annual revenue should the plan pass, while the AEG Environmental Impact Report released in April postulates that roughly 11,000 new permanent jobs will be created.
The Clinton Environmental Initiative also recognized the project last September for being in accordance with its policies, which includes being 100 percent carbon neutral in the emissions to and from the stadium.
Not everyone is convinced, however. Detractors do not believe the environmental report goes far enough, citing concerns with both emissions and light pollution in the area. Concerns have also been raised over the anticipated increase in automobile traffic in the area as well as of housing in the surrounding communities.
“It's about how it’s being implemented,” said Becky Dennison of Play Fair at Farmers Field and L.A. CAN, who earlier Thursday filed suit against AEG seeking $60 million to go toward affordable housing the in downtown area. “We've never opposed the project, we don't plan to – unless there's absolutely no mitigation in it. Our goal has always been to make the environmental process real for these communities.”
Others, though, have faith that AEG will take the right steps to support the surrounding area.
"From my experience, they're very in touch with the community," said Alison Nitzsche, associate director of the City Scholars Foundation, a non-profit that AEG helps sponsor. “They've taken a lot of community input, and I do think that they have the best interests of the community in mind.”
If AEG doesn't, a lawyer for the National Resources Defense Council said in a statement that the lawsuit could "take down the entire project."
The City Planning Commission is expected to make its recommendation on the plan by Friday. The City Council will meet September 28th to discuss its own recommendation.
Reach reporter Mike Pielluci here.