SBD/June 30, 2011/Facilities

Populous Picked For L.A. Convention Center Project; Majestic Denies Conflict Of Interest

Populous received approval from Majestic Realty to pursue Convention Center deal

AEG and L.A. city officials yesterday announced that Populous has been selected as the architect of record to design a new exhibition hall at the L.A. Convention Center. The project is tied to Farmers Field, the NFL stadium AEG wants to privately build next to the convention center. Separately, Populous Senior Principal Dan Meis is part of the design team for an NFL facility proposed for Majestic Realty in Grand Crossing, 20 miles east of downtown L.A. As such, the selection of Populous raised a few eyebrows within the ranks of the sports facility development industry. But Populous’ deal with AEG does not pose a conflict of interest with Majestic’s $800M stadium project, according to officials with Populous and Majestic Realty. “We are not currently performing work for a competing NFL stadium in Los Angeles, and we will not do so while we’re working on the Los Angeles Convention Center project,” said Populous Brand Manager Gina Stingley. Populous had Majestic’s approval to pursue the convention center deal, according to Majestic VP John Semcken. “Populous is the principal designer of our football stadium and remains so,” he said. “Several months ago, an RFP went out for the convention center. Populous, because the firm is our architect, had to get permission from us to pursue the job. The convention center has nothing to do with football. Los Angeles deserves a first class convention facility and we were more than happy to allow them to respond to the RFP. Our building has already been completely designed and we could break ground tomorrow. The only thing left to do is construction documents. We are way past schematic design.”

I LOVE L.A.: Meis has been employed with Populous since September. His work with Majestic Realty started about four years ago when his sports practice, Meis Architects, was part of Aedas in L.A. At the time, Meis Architects teamed with EwingCole, Majestic’s project architect for the 75,000-seat facility. EwingCole is “not involved any longer but is due a significant payment once we start construction,” Semcken said. The Philadelphia design firm was the architect of record for New Meadowlands Stadium. In downtown L.A., Populous will design a new hall that would relocate and replace an existing 210,000-square-foot building that would be torn down to make room for Farmers Field. The firm has already started work for a project expected to break ground in early summer '12. The plan for Farmers Field calls for suites on the south end to be converted to meeting rooms for the convention center. Gensler is AEG’s designer for Farmers Field. Gensler Dir of Sports & Entertainment Ron Turner is Meis’ former business partner.

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