LOS ANGELES — Anschutz Entertainment Group asked Los Angeles for more time to put together a deal to build a National Football League stadium and convention center expansion.
AEG's contract with the city expires Oct. 18 unless the entertainment conglomerate signs an NFL team. It sent a letter to Los Angeles city leaders asking for a six-month extension.
The city had already started on a football-free "Plan B" to expand and upgrade its convention center, well over a year before the expiration of AEG's contract. It had planned to announce the three architects selected as finalists for the convention center expansion design after AEG's Oct. 17 deadline passed. Each one would receive $200,000 to flesh out designs.
AEG sent the letter to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Council President Herb Wesson and Councilman Curren Price, whose council district includes the convention center. All three came out publicly in support of an extension.
"This process is most importantly about revitalizing our Convention Center to attract more business to our city, which is why we've been grinding out these negotiations since I took office," Garcetti said in a statement. "But I'm also a fan and want to see football in L.A."
Negotiations between L.A. and the NFL have come further than before, Garcetti said.
The city and AEG signed the contract to begin developing the combined stadium and convention center expansion in September 2012.
AEG agreed to construct a $287-million contiguous expansion wing for the convention center and demolish the convention center's West Hall and replace it by constructing the Farmers Field NFL stadium on that spot.
AEG has built a multi-block entertainment district including The Staples Center, two convention center hotels, and restaurants around the city's convention center over the past 16 years. AEG was also selected in December 2013 to manage the convention center.
The mayor cited AEG's work in developing the Staples Center for his support in "continuing the momentum with them."
If granted an extension, AEG said it would spend $600,000 on alternative design plans and reimburse the city up to $150,000 for costs connected to evaluating the competing plans.
Under the soon-to-expire contract with AEG, Los Angeles would have issued between $287 million and $358.4 million in lease revenue bonds, as well as between $93.4 million and $109.7 million in Mello-Roos bonds, which cities can issue by creating special tax districts. AEG was to make lease payments to the city for the West Hall property, helping to fund construction of the new convention center wing.
"We're now positioned to take the ball into the red zone, and an extension would dovetail with the NFL's timeline when it comes to its decision making process," Wesson said.