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Group cancels convention over L.A. stadium construction

August 25, 2011 |  5:17 pm

FILE - In this file image show provided by AEG, a proposed NFL football stadium, to be named Farmers Field, is depicted next to Staples Center in Los Angeles in this artist's rendering. With about a month to go before their self-imposed deadline to reach a deal with the city, executives with the company seeking to build an NFL stadium for downtown Los Angeles take their plan before a council committee on Thursday, June 30, 2011.(AP Photo/AEG, File)
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.

“The new stadium being built would be under construction between the convention center and the [L.A. Live] hotel, which would mean our attendees would have to essentially walk around the construction to get to the convention center,” 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.


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-- 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