SBD/September 14, 2012/Facilities

AEG Gets Commission Approval For Farmers Field, But Civic Group Seeking More Money

The Play Fair at Farmers Field Coalition filed suit for $2M a year over 30 years
A $1.2B plan for the proposed Farmers Field NFL stadium in L.A. “passed a major test Thursday,” according to Zahniser & Linthicum of the L.A. TIMES. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's appointees on the Planning Commission “signed off on a set of agreements for the 72,000-seat stadium, concluding the project's economic benefits outweigh the ‘significant and unavoidable’ impacts it will have on traffic, air quality, noise and light glare.” The 9-0 vote “marked a major victory for AEG," putting the stadium and a $315M Convention Center renovation "on track for a Sept. 28 vote by the City Council.” But Thursday's win was “tempered by a warning from one of the stadium's biggest allies, who said a pending legal case is placing the project in jeopardy.” The Play Fair at Farmers Field Coalition, which filed a lawsuit against AEG last month, said that it “wants AEG to provide $60 million for affordable housing, or $2 million a year over 30 years.” City officials are “pursuing a timeline that would ensure that any lawsuit against AEG would be resolved in March, when NFL team owners are expected to consider the possibility of returning a franchise to L.A.” AEG execs “showed no interest in providing the amount of money sought by the coalition," saying that they already have agreed to roughly $50M in concessions. AEG Chief Legal & Development Officer Ted Fikre said that the company “has already rejected a coalition request for $10 million and pointed out that neither the stadium project nor the Convention Center upgrade will result in the removal of any homes” (L.A. TIMES, 9/14).

TAILGATE EXPERIENCE: In L.A., Vincent Bonsignore writes it “sure sounded like” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was "playing up" Farmers Field while appearing this week at Politico’s Playbook Lunch in DC. Goodell said, “There is tailgating in the downtown site. It may not be as much and it may be a different kind of experience, but you’re going to have to address that in some fashion.” Goodell also maintained that while Farmers Field “might not offer the traditional tailgating experience, it can still provide unique game-day activities.” Goodell: “(It’s) a site that has an arena, it has a convention center, there are restaurants and shops. It’s a whole experience where people can come down and make it a different kind of tailgating experience rather than pulling up your car and opening your hood and saying we’re open for business” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 9/14).

PARKING ISSUE: In San Diego, Craig Gustafson writes the proposal to build a new downtown Chargers stadium faces an “unexpected hurdle as one of the key properties needed for a proposed site in the East Village has become mired in a bureaucratic maze.” The state's decision to “end redevelopment has put the fate of Tailgate Park, a 1,040-space parking lot next to Petco Park, in question as the city may have to put the site up for sale to the highest bidder rather than include a portion of it as part of the 14-acre footprint needed to build a $1 billion stadium.” If there is a sale of Tailgate Park, the “civic discussion over building a stadium in the East Village effectively ends.” The proposed site “would already be the smallest stadium footprint in the NFL so the project doesn't pencil out unless Tailgate Park is included” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 9/14).
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