Group cancels convention over L.A. stadium construction
Organizers of a five-day medical convention have canceled plans for coming to downtown Los Angeles out of worries about construction activity stemming from the proposed NFL stadium.
The Society of Critical Care Medicine pulled the plug on an event planned for 2014, one that would have attracted 6,000 attendees, because of “uncertainty” surrounding the work, society spokesman Jim Flanigan said Thursday. “There was some concern that the portion of the building being torn down to make room for the stadium would not have been completed by the time we were there,” he said.
The group has decided to relocate its convention to San Francisco, he said.
Anschutz Entertainment Group, the developer of the stadium, hopes to have its NFL project completed in 2016. Under a nonbinding agreement with AEG, city officials plan to tear down a wing of its convention center to make room for the stadium and then construct a $275-million convention center wing nearby. At various events, AEG officials have argued that completion of the two projects would lead to an increase in major convention business downtown.
Flanigan said his nonprofit organization, which is made up of physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other medical specialists who work in intensive care units, had originally planned to occupy rooms within L.A. Live, the entertainment complex owned by AEG. But construction presented some logistical concerns, he said.
Carol Martinez, vice president of communications for LA Inc., the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, said her organization was disappointed by the announcement. Still, she argued that the medical organization’s fears were unwarranted.
Each phase of construction is being timed in phases “ to make sure that everything works well for convention clients during construction,” she said. Martinez also said plans for creating more contiguous space at the convention has spurred interest in L.A. from eight potential convention groups.
The agreement being negotiated between the city and AEG calls for the stadium developer to reimburse the city for any loss of convention business caused by construction, according to a letter sent by the city’s negotiators to City Councilman Bill Rosendahl. Negotiators also told Rosendahl that they do not expect a loss of revenue or conventions during construction.
AEG, Farmers Insurance in naming rights deal for proposed NFL stadium
-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall
Photo: AEG's proposed NFL football stadium, to be named Farmers Field, is depicted next to Staples Center in Los Angeles in this artist's rendering. Credit: AP Photo / AEG