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NFL stadium plan for downtown L.A. on council agenda

August 9, 2011 |  8:02 am

Proposed NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles
The plan to lure a $1.2-billion NFL stadium to downtown Los Angeles is scheduled to make a big leap forward Tuesday with the City Council expected to vote for the overall framework for financing the project.

The council is scheduled to approve a nonbinding agreement with stadium developer Anschutz Entertainment Group that would allow for demolition and relocation of a section of the Los Angeles Convention Center. That, in turn, would make room for a 72,000-seat stadium just south of Staples Center, which would open in 2016 with the planned name of Farmers Field.

The city plans to issue $275 million in bonds to pay for the new convention center wing. Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district includes the stadium site, said in a letter to Council President Eric Garcetti on Monday that up to 49% of the new revenue generated by the two projects -- taxes and lease revenue -- would be used to pay off that debt.

"I believe we have been afforded the time and the information needed to feel comfortable with the basic parameters of the project," she wrote.

Approval of the stadium plan would kick off nine months of intensive negotiations with AEG, which has promised to pay for the new stadium and two parking garages on its own dime. And it would allow city planners to press ahead with preparation of an environmental impact report on the project, which would assess such issues as traffic, noise and glare in nearby neighborhoods.

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said a vote in favor of the tentative agreement would tell the council's negotiators that they are heading in the right direction. "It also signals to AEG that, in fact, we're serious about this, and they can begin their process and ... put their funding together," said Santana, the city's top budget official.

Tuesday's meeting isn't likely to offer many surprises. The council's three biggest stadium skeptics -- Bill Rosendahl, Paul Koretz and Paul Krekorian -- signaled two weeks ago that they were warming to the deal. Rosendahl, who has peppered city officials with questions about the financing and the effect on convention business, voted in favor of the concept Wednesday.

City officials expect the stadium to create more than 6,300 permanent jobs and make it possible for the city to renovate its convention center at a time of tight budgets. Nevertheless, the proposal has drawn sharp questions from residents who live near the stadium site who are worried about the traffic that will pour onto local streets and the 110/10 Freeway interchange.

Others contend that the city should be able to get a share of the profits from Farmers Field, and warn that the economic upside for AEG -- which owns nearby Staples Center and the L.A. Live entertainment complex -- has been significantly downplayed.

Consultants for the city have responded by arguing that AEG's financial return over 30 years will be too low for the company to engage in new "revenue sharing" agreements. AEG executives agreed but noted in a recent hearing that the company expects a "substantial" profit from the stadium.


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-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Photo: Artist rendering of the proposed downtown football stadium. Credit: AEG