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Timeline Set for Council Discussion of Farmers Field and Convention Center Project

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, July 15, 2011, at 08:46AM
Farmers Field Gensler / AEG

Rendering of Farmers Field, the stadium and events center proposed to go next to Staples Center and L.A. Live.

A timeline has been set for key meetings that could lead up to a deal for Farmers Field, the NFL stadium and events center that AEG proposes to build on the site of the Convention Center's West Hall.

AEG has been negotiating with the City on a deal for that land and the rebuilding of the convention hall. CEO Tim Leiweke has called for an agreement to be reached before City Council goes on its summer recess, and a trio of meetings scheduled for the last week of July appear to be aligned to make that happen.

According to a press release sent out on Thursday by Councilwoman Jan Perry, a draft agreement is expected to be released by Monday, July 25. The City Council's ad-hoc committee for the project—which Perry chairs—will then meet on Wednesday, July 27, at 5:30pm inside City Hall and on Thursday, July 28, at 5:30pm in the Van Nuys City Hall.

The full City Council will consider the project on Friday, July 29, in a single-topic meeting.

While the NFL aspect has dominated public discussion, AEG and business interests have been consistant in pushing the convention upgrades as a bigger economic piece. The new and reconfigured space will take the Convention Center to 1.1 million square feet, placing it at number five nationally.

AEG has proposed that it would pay the stadium's full $1 billion cost and has asked the city to issue $300 million in bonds to pay for construction of the new convention space.

Those details may or may not exactly match the deal that comes to the Council. "The presentation they make on the deal they present in public is not necessarily the deal I'm going to present to you," Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller told the ad-hoc stadium committee last month.

A new wrinkle was thrown into the stadium talks this week as sports rumor site Sports By Brooks reported that Major League Baseball had approached AEG about building a new home for the Dodgers if embattled owner Frank McCourt is able to keep control of Chavez Ravine.

Baseball and AEG officials have denied that any such talks have taken place. While AEG had expressed interest in hosting baseball in the past, the growth of L.A. Live and the Convention Center has almost certainly moved the site beyond the point of having capacity to host another 40,000 to 50,000 fans for 81 home games.

Stadium Timeline

AEG's proposed Downtown stadium has been on a fast-track since word of the plan first emerged 15 months ago.

April, 2010: Rumors emerge that AEG and Casey Wasserman are working on a plan to build a stadium on the site of the Convention Center's West Hall.

June, 2010: During the NBA Finals, AEG CEO Tim Lieweke talks about an events center as the final piece of the puzzle for L.A. Live.

July, 2010: Renderings for a Downtown stadium make an appearance on HBO's Entourage, as Ari Gold pitches the plan to bring a team to L.A.

November, 2010: Leiweke kicks off a speaking tour touting the stadium plan.

December 15, 2010: AEG releases renderings from three architecture firms competing to win the stadium design job.

January 19, 2011: The stadium plan gets its first hearing at City Hall, as Leiweke visits the Trade, Commerce and Tourism committee to pitch his plans.

February 1, 2011: A $1-billion naming rights deal is announced that gives the planned stadium the name Farmers Field. Gensler is eventually chosen.

March, 2011: Environmental work on the project kicks off as AEG sends it Notice of Preparation to the city's planning department.

June, 2011: AEG announces Populous as the architects for the convention hall the day before a second Council committee meeting.

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