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SBD/February 3, 2011/Facilities
Farmers Field Proposal Receives Cooler Reception At L.A. City Council Hearing
Published February 3, 2011
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HOLD YOUR HORSES: An L.A. DAILY NEWS editorial states yesterday's discussion by the City Council "solidified the fact that this project is moving like an unstoppable steamroller," as there were "a few softball questions, but they seemed perfunctory." The editorial: "There's no real proposal on the table, nor an environmental impact report analyzing impacts, and still there's a sense of inevitability." The project "tears down part of the city-owned downtown Convention Center and rebuilds it." The editorial: "How much will the city have to pay for that? Who knows? How much revenue will the center lose during construction? Who knows? ... Who's asking these probing questions? Nobody yet. Indeed, city officials are too busy tripping over each other to stand on the stadium bandwagon" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/3). In L.A., Kerry Cavanaugh writes, "What L.A. needs is a skeptical politician. Some elected leader who is willing to be the skunk at the garden party." Krekorian was the "lone councilman to question why the city was scrambling to review and negotiate a project when AEG hasn't finished an environmental impact report or even offered a formal proposal yet." His fellow council members "jumped all over him for simply questioning the rush," but L.A. "needs Krekorian and others to keep questioning" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/3).
CHECK THE PRICE TAG: In California, Thomas Himes offers the first in a series of stories examining the efforts of AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke and Roski to bring an NFL team to L.A. Despite Leiweke's "bravado, building a 64,000- to 72,000-seat stadium won't come cheap," and "that may explain why the stadium's reported price has more than doubled since November." Leiweke said that the stadium's price tag "now stands at" $1.35B, which is "nearly double the $725 million it was widely reported that AEG said the stadium would cost when the company issued a request for proposals in November." But Leiweke said that the $725M figure "strictly referred to 'building' the stadium." He added that "for $725 million in 'hard costs' ... he can build an NFL stadium downtown with a retractable roof." By his estimate, it "will cost 'a billion and a half dollars' before a single game can be played when you add all cost involved in constructing the stadium at its proposed site -- $1.35 billion -- and another $150 million to buy into a team." The additional $625M "includes the $350 million needed to rebuild the West Hall of the Convention Center, plus so-called 'soft costs.'" AEG reps "cite the $810 million construction cost" of Cowboys Stadium "as proof a similar venue could be built in L.A. for" $725M. Roski said that his proposed stadium, which he "dubbed the Los Angeles Stadium," would cost only $800M, "in large part because he could offset steel costs by building the stadium into the side of a hill" (SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE, 2/3).
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: NFL Exec VP/Business Operations Eric Grubman said that AEG's 30-year, $700M deal with Farmers Insurance for naming rights to the proposed stadium is an "example of the type of opportunity that could be available under a new CBA." Grubman: "It is on the table in that it's been noticed by players. I firmly believe that they are well aware that there's two great developers and great sites, either one of which could be actionable in the very near future in the Los Angeles market. That's very tantalizing" (L.A. TIMES, 2/3). Steelers President Art Rooney II said that he "thought a team would return" to L.A. "by 2016." Rooney: "I think Los Angeles is in the picture by then. It's a great football town. They've supported a few franchises over the years, and hopefully, we'll get another one back there by at least 2016" (NYTIMES.com, 2/2).