Los Angeles City Council Approves $1.5B Stadium
Los Angeles, CA
The Los Angeles City Council has unanimously approved plans to construct a $1.5 billion stadium, paving the way for an NFL team to return to the city.
Now, it is up to the developers to convince an NFL squad to relocate to Los Angeles before construction starts March 2013.
"We're not trying to steal a franchise and we're not trying to force them to move before they make a decision to move," said Tim Leiweke, CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group, the company behind the project.
"That's up to the individual owners out there today. But we will be very active in letting them know, despite what a lot of people thought, we have a deal with the city, we've gone through this process and we are shovel-ready," Leiweke added.
The anticipated 12-0 approval happened during Friday's session attended by several high-profile personalities, among them Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, ex-USC quarterback Rodney Peete, two local high school football teams, a large group of former Los Angeles Rams fans and union workers.
Also in attendance was billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, who is said to be eyeing to purchase AEG.
"He has made it very clear to everyone he's interested in AEG and he's interested in the NFL," Leiweke said. "When I talk about the kind of people we are talking to now, who will buy this company from Philip Anschutz, I am extremely confident that everyone is going to feel very good about the kind of ownership group we're going to put together."
Legal challenges against the project will be accepted within a 30-day period and must be resolved within 175 days. If everything goes well, ground breaking on Farmers Field will start by March 2013.
"We make a statement to the NFL and to Roger Goodell that L.A. is now open to business," Leiweke said.
If an NFL team moves to Los Angeles, the city will issue bonds to pay for a projected $314 million convention center building next door to the stadium that will be repaid by AEG.
The stadium and the adjoining convention center could take four years to finish. While waiting, the NFL team could play in one of the existing stadiums in the city.
"This project means we are one step closer to building an NFL stadium and bringing one or two teams to Los Angeles," Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.
Villaraigosa added that a modernized convention center would put Los Angeles among the nation's top-five convention and meeting destinations, which could translate to more jobs for city's residents.
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