L.A. Officials Look To Protect Interest In Farmers Field Amid AEG's Planned Sale
L.A. officials yesterday promised to “take new steps to protect the city's interests in pending agreements for a new downtown NFL stadium now that the company looking to develop the project has been put up for sale,” according to Zahniser & Linthicum of the L.A. TIMES. With a final vote on the $1.5B stadium and convention center upgrade “set for Friday, Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller told a City Council panel that he was drafting language to make sure whoever gains control” of AEG has “experience running major sports venues.” The council's stadium committee “endorsed the deal” yesterday after AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke "apologized for allowing the AEG sale announcement to create a 'disruption of the process.'" Friday's council vote “involves the project's development agreement, environmental impact report and leases of city-owned land.” L.A. Council member Jose Huizar said that he “wanted to assure the public that AEG's top executives, including Leiweke, who has cultivated close ties with City Hall over the last decade, would remain in place.” Leiweke stressed that he “has a new contract with AEG that would last at least five years” (L.A. TIMES, 9/25). ESPN L.A.’s Arash Markazi noted if “everything goes according to plan, Farmers Field could be in position to break ground by March 2013, similar to a competing stadium proposed by” Majestic Realty Chair & CEO Ed Roski in the City of Industry. But both stadiums “need a long-term commitment from an NFL team before construction can begin.” Leiweke said that it will be “about four years until the stadium and convention center is finished” after construction begins. Leiweke said AEG Chair Phil Anschutz has “made it very clear that our dedication to Farmers Field is going to have to be their dedication to Farmers Field." Leiweke said that he “anticipates that AEG will have a new owner in place by March before the NFL owners' annual meeting” (ESPNLA.com, 9/24).
SUMMERTIME THOUGHTS: Leiweke said that Anschutz “began entertaining the idea of selling AEG over the summer, after the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup.” He said that the company’s senior execs “learned at a recent retreat" that Anschutz "would indeed go that route.” Leiweke said company execs have already been approached by “dozens” of interested entities. He said that the process “will involve looking at the bidders, cutting them down to a small number, and having one or two finalists by the end of the year” (LADOWNTOWNNEWS.com, 9/24).