Committee gets update on NFL stadium proposed for downtown
Officials working on a football stadium complex proposed for downtown Los Angeles will seek the City Council’s approval to increase the tab for outside consultants, from $250,000 to $400,000, to be paid by the project's developers, Anschutz Entertainment Group. A vote on the matter could come as early as Friday.
The consultants include two financial advisory firms and one bond counsel firm, working with the city administrative office, in addition to CSL International. CSL has been helping the chief legislative analyst's office evaluate AEG's proposal, including its plan to replace a part of the Los Angeles Convention Center that occupies the spot that AEG wants for a stadium.
City officials negotiating with AEG told the council's ad hoc committee on the proposed downtown stadium and events center Thursday that it is common practice for developers of large projects to pay for consulting services in connection with them.
The special City Council committee held its second meeting Thursday since it was formed after AEG unveiled its proposal earlier this year to build a privately financed stadium and relocate the Convention Center's West Hall with money from city bonds to be repaid with project revenues.
AEG executive Tim Leiweke this week sweetened the pot by offering to reduce the amount of bonds from $350 million to "the high $200 millions" and then paying for two parking garages, which AEG would control.
The council committee, headed by Councilwoman Jan Perry, took no action during its 3 1/2-hour meeting to hear what were essentially progress reports on various aspects of the complicated proposal. Committee members kept emphasizing their desire for a "transparent" process and devoted the first portion of the meeting to a discussion about whether after-hours community meetings on the project would be worth the money and how to minimize cost while maximizing opportunities for public participation.
Comments by representatives of various business, labor or neighborhood groups fell roughly into two categories: Those who seemed primarily interested in the jobs and Convention Center improvements the project would bring and those whose main concerns were watching out for the taxpayers’ purse strings.
AEG has pledged repeatedly that the project would not cost taxpayers anything and city negotiators have said over and over they are determined to ensure that city coffers are well protected in the event the project goes through.
-- Jean Merl at Los Angeles City Hall
Photo: AEG executive Tim Leiweke during a news conference Feb. 1. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times