SBD/December 15, 2010/Facilities

Three Finalists To Build AEG's L.A. Stadium Interview Today For Job

HKS, architect for two of the three newest NFL stadiums, is considered the favorite by industry sources to win the job to develop AEG's downtown L.A. stadium. The Dallas-based firm joins HNTB and Gensler, the two other finalists, today in L.A. to interview for the job. The firms are competing to design the L.A. Event Center, a multipurpose facility with up to 72,000 fixed seats, 218 suites and 14,700 club seats. Tim Romani, President & CEO of Icon Venue Group, the event center's project manager, and Ted Tanner, Exec VP of AEG Real Estate Development, are scheduled to discuss the project with the media at 5:00pm PT after the three presentations. At that time, initial stadium renderings from each of the finalists will be on display, AEG officials said. HKS designed Cowboys Stadium and Lucas Oil Stadium, which opened in '09 and '08, respectively. Both buildings have retractable roofs and field-level suites, two key design elements AEG wants its stadium to include. Cowboys Stadium itself is the model for the Event Center, said AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke.

: For HKS, the same company that designed premium seat upgrades and new club lounges at Dodger Stadium, the opportunity to play a key role in shaping the future of sports and entertainment in L.A. is exciting, said HKS Principal Mark Williams. "Los Angeles is a market that really needs the NFL, and if it was done right, it would be a great marriage and a globally influential project," Williams said. "It is a great site already without the NFL there. I think the NFL could accentuate that site to another level. It's a world stage." The proposed site is across the street from Staples Center and entertainment district L.A. Live. The stadium would replace the existing West Hall of the L.A. Convention Center. HNTB has impressive credentials as well, having designed Invesco Field at Mile High, the Broncos' home, as well as several major college stadium renovations, including the $226M Michigan Stadium project completed this year. In California, HNTB, considered the industry leader in the college space, is planning $400M in improvements to Cal-Berkeley's 87-year-old Memorial Stadium.

: Gensler is the wild card. As a company, Gensler has not designed an NFL stadium, but the firm's principals include Ron Turner, its Dir of Sports & Entertainment. Turner, whose résumé includes Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia and Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, also completed a study to renovate L.A. Memorial Coliseum for an NFL team while he was at RTKL. Turner in the late '90s was part of NBBJ's team that designed Staples Center for AEG, and as such, he has a long-standing relationship with Leiweke. The same is true for the firm as a whole. Gensler designed L.A. Live's Club Nokia, owned and operated by AEG, and the district's Ritz-Carlton Hotel & Residences and JW Marriott Hotel. A meeting space connected to both hotels is the site of this afternoon's update on the project. AEG has not said when it would select an architect, but Leiweke stated publicly that he wants to have the process wrapped up in a three-month period. It includes doing separate deals with the NFL to bring a team to L.A. and an agreement with the city to tear down part of the convention center to make room for the stadium, a $1B project.
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