Faced with competition from stadium proposals in Carson and Inglewood and still unable to lure an NFL team, officials with development company AEG announced Monday they were dropping plans to build a stadium in downtown Los Angeles.
“We are no longer in discussion with the NFL or any NFL team,” AEG Vice Chairman Ted Fikre said. “Our focus is on the continued development of the L.A. Live district, and assisting the city of Los Angeles with development of convention center and the downtown core.
“We have advised the city that we will not seek further extension of the April 17 deadline for our convention center/stadium deal with the city,” he said.
The development agreement had originally been set to expire in October 2014, but the city agreed to a six-month extension to give AEG more time to try to land an NFL team, which was a prerequisite for work proceeding on the stadium.
City Councilman Curren Price Jr., who represents the downtown area that would have housed the stadium, said he still believes Farmers Field was the best stadium proposal on the table, but said he understands the company’s decision.
“We will continue to move full speed ahead with the much-needed expansion of the Los Angeles Convention Center,” Price said. “I look forward to a thorough review process of all design plans in the coming months as we work to secure to the best possible project for the city.”
Yusef Robb, spokesman for Mayor Eric Garcetti, said, “Our priorities in L.A. have always been about accelerating downtown’s revitalization and improving our convention center, and that continues to move forward full steam ahead. In terms of football, we continue to stand with the fans — we would welcome a team anywhere in our region that delivers the greatest benefit to our communities and economy.”
The original deal, which was once hailed as the area’s best hope for bringing the National Football League back to Los Angeles, called for the development of a $1.2 billion, 76,000-seat NFL stadium and $315 million convention center hall, along with a stand-alone ballroom and park plaza near Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
According to the Los Angeles Times, AEG has spent at least $50 million on the downtown stadium project.
In recent weeks, the Farmers Field proposal has been overshadowed — first by an announcement that St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke plans to build an NFL-style stadium at the site of the former Hollywood Park in Inglewood, then by a joint proposal from the owners of the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers for a stadium in Carson.
Despite the proposals, no NFL team has yet committed to move to the Southland.
The Inglewood City Council has already approved the Hollywood Park stadium plan. Backers of the Raiders/Chargers stadium are planning to gather petition signatures to get that project before the Carson City Council, which can either approve the proposal outright or put it on a ballot for a public vote.
An NFL team has not played in the Los Angeles area since 1994.
The Los Angeles Raiders played at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum from 1982-1994, before returning to Oakland in 1995. The Los Angeles Rams played in the Coliseum from 1946-1979 and at what was then known as Anaheim Stadium from 1980-1994 before moving to St. Louis in 1995.
The Chargers played at the Coliseum in their inaugural 1960 season when they were a member of the American Football League, then moved to San Diego in 1961.
— City News Service.