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Downtown L.A. football stadium proposal: Stay tuned for more answers

June 20, 2011 |  8:42 am

Footballstadium
Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl received some answers to questions about plans to build a downtown football stadium and the effect it would have on the nearby L.A. Convention Center.

But many answers from the city's two top policy analysts boil down to two words: Stay tuned.

Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller and City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana sent Rosendahl a 13-page letter, telling him many of the questions sent three months ago cannot be answered until negotiations on the $1-billion stadium are completed.

Rosendahl posted the letter on his Facebook page.

Rosendahl had asked how long it would take to build the stadium and the planned $350-million reconstruction of one wing of the convention center. (The two projects are linked.) Miller and Santana said the timeline will be determined during negotiations with Anschutz Entertainment Group, the stadium developer.

Rosendahl also asked about the possibility that longstanding convention center clients might flee during construction and refuse to come back in future years. Miller and Santana said they would have a report on that issue at the conclusion of negotiations.

Then there was this question: How much money could the convention center lose during construction and who would make up the losses?

Those issues, Rosendahl was told, would be discussed at the end of their talks with AEG.

Rosendahl, who represents a coastal district stretching from Westchester to Pacific Palisades, said he was not surprised or disappointed by the limited answers he received.

He said the exchange shows how transparent the discussion will be in coming weeks.

"I'm just happy that I got answers to the questions, be they answers, or non-answer answers," he said.

AEG Chief Executive Tim Leiweke has previously set a July 31 deadline for city officials to have the framework for a deal.

Santana and Miller did use the letter to restate some of the positions already adopted by the city's ad hoc stadium committee.

For example, the panel is also looking for "substantial private funding" to cover the cost of a new convention center wing, the letter said.

Miller and Santana also pointed out that while city officials do not want public money financing a football stadium, they made no such assertion regarding a new $350-million wing of the convention center.

But answers to many of the questions will not come until the end of talks.

Those include: Will the project really create 18,000 jobs?

What other convention centers have stadiums attached?

How can the city make sure a football team won't flee to another stadium?

How would an admissions fee, a key element for financing the stadium, work?

In other words, stay tuned.

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-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Image: Architect's rendering of the proposed football stadium complex in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: Gensler

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