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Volume 21 No. 13
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Crews go deep as L.A. Stadium takes shape

The future home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers sits on a massive 300-acre site.
Courtesy of: LOS ANGELES RAMS
The Los Angeles Rams are literally going deep for pay dirt preparing for the Super Bowl — as future host, as well as a potential participant in this year’s title tilt.

Construction crews working since the fourth quarter of 2016 on the team’s L.A. Stadium and Entertainment District have dug down 100 feet below the surface to lay the foundation for this ambitious facility, which at an estimated $2.6 billion, will be the world’s most expensive sports complex.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke is privately funding the stadium, which will be shared with the Los Angeles Chargers and is slated to host Super Bowl LVI in 2022. At a recent tour of the site, project developers said the facility remains on track to open before the 2020 season, after heavy rains last year forced a one-year delay from the original 2019 target date.

Who's on BOARD?
The people behind the L.A. Stadium and Entertainment District
OWNERSHIP: Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s Kroenke Sports & Entertainment is privately funding the development at an estimated price tag of $2.6 billion, making it the world’s most expensive sports venue.
ARCHITECT: HKS Architects worked with Kroenke to envision the facility.
 CONTRACTOR: Turner-AECOM Hunt is the general contractor joint venture bringing the stadium to life.
DEVELOPMENT: Wilson Meany is developing the retail, office, hotel and residential component of the complex.
SALES: Legends Global Sales is selling suites and eventually personal seat licenses for both the Rams and Chargers.
“We’re way better equipped to deal with rain than last year because now we have pumping systems and ways to manage it,” explained Robert Aylesworth Jr., principal-in-charge of the Turner Construction-AECOM Hunt joint venture that’s serving as general contractor for the complex.

Aylesworth added they are pushing the schedule to get the lower parts of the facility finished quickly.

Workers currently are building two separate structures: the stadium and the roof. “They are not connected, they are completely isolated from each other.”

Aylesworth said of the structures.

The roof is quickly becoming the talkingpoint of the venue, as it’s made of the clear plastic ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene), which was used at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The ETFE roof canopy creates the facility’s signature Southern California indoor/outdoor design as it will cover but not enclose three separate areas including the stadium seats, a performance venue, and Champions Plaza.

The massive 300-acre development sits adjacent to The Forum, Inglewood’s former home of the Lakers and Kings.

The big dig portion is over and eight cranes, enough to build a small city, dot the horizon above one of the nation’s largest construction sites. And while nearly 1,000 workers are currently on site, that number is expected to quadruple by this time next year.

While no officials would discuss current costs, manpower may actually be an issue given the tight labor market and booming Southern California real estate market. “The availability of labor has been the biggest surprise,” Aylesworth said. “It’s a tough market, overheated … right now we’re paying [union] scale, but I’m not sure how long that will last [before they have to pay more].”

But he added it helps that the stadium’s an attractive project. “People like to work on it and drive by with their kids and say, ‘Hey, I worked on that,’” he said.

Workers are building the stadium and the roof separately and are pushing to get the lower parts of the stadium finished quickly.
Photo by: ROBERT GRAY
Mark Williams, principal with HKS Architects, said the project’s scale presents distinctive challenges. “It’s complicated,” he acknowledged. “The seismic criteria for design and technology is the most difficult challenge we have to address.”

Williams said one positive is the early design has “maintained its original form.” The bowl has been carved out of the earth and the steel superstructure is slowly emerging. Some of the custom pieces for the stadium cost as much as $3.5 million each. More than 6.1 million cubic yards of dirt have been moved, enough to fill 600,000 dump trucks, according to site construction officials.

Suites went on sale in August. Chris Hibbs, chief revenue officer for Legends, wouldn’t divulge numbers but said sales have “exceeded expectations, the teams playing really well helped.” He added that PSLs will go on sale soon. Sales will continue out of the L.A. Stadium Premiere Center, which has been open since August and previewing the experience at the new venue.

Robert Gray is a writer living in Los Angeles. He can be reached at robertdgray@me.com.