It appears likely that the Los Angeles City Council will approve on Friday the final environmental impact report and a bevy of other documents for a proposed professional football stadium in downtown Los Angeles despite news last week that the company developing the project is on the auction block.
The agreement still has widespread support from council members, who are enthusiastic about the project, which is estimated to bring 20,000 jobs, said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry.
The City Council’s stadium committee approved the EIR and a 35-year development agreement unanimously on Monday after members received reassurances from Anschutz Entertainment Group President Tim Leiweke that he and other members of the executive team involved in stadium plans just signed five-year renewal contracts this summer.
“My main concern is that the senior management team, we have been dealing with on this deal, remain in place,” said Perry, who heads the Ad Hoc Committee on Downtown Stadium and Convention Center Renovations. “Tim said they signed contracts for five years. That should get us through the process with the NFL and the ribbon cutting.”
Opponents of the project would have 30 days to file a legal challenge after the City Council approves the EIR on Friday. Under legislation passed last year, the stadium receives a fast track on legal challenges involving the state’s environmental laws, so that lawsuits must be resolved in the courts within 175 days.
Denver, Colo.-based Anschutz Co. announced last week that it was selling AEG, the company with plans to break ground on the $1.2 billion Farmers Field in March 2013.
Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong and Guggenheim Partners, the global financial services firm that purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team in March, are among the names circulating as contenders bidding for the company valued between $6 billion and $7 billion, according to a Reuters report.
The council has asked chief legislative analyst Gerry Miller to draft clarifying language with respect to character on whoever assumes ownership, Perry said.
“The language in the original documents contemplated that the company could be sold at some point, because we wanted to project forward on any possibilities,” she said.
The sale might even help convince the National Football League the project is worthy of a team.
“The NFL would like to have longevity with team owners,” Perry said. “This probably opens up a new generation of ownership – someone in their 30s, 40s or 50s. It could bring fresh eyes, new capital and fresh enthusiasm.”
If AEG can’t attract a team, the agreement that involves AEG razing the west wing of the city’s convention center to build a stadium and a new west wing for the convention center would be voided.
Without the stadium deal, the city doesn’t have the money to build a new convention center, Perry said.
Under the financing plan, Los Angeles would issue 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.