Hearings One Week Away, Stadium Reports Pick Up Speed
Rendering of Farmers Field, AEG's proposed NFL stadium and events center
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — As next week's hearings on AEG's proposal to build an NFL stadium and events center on the site of the Convention Center's West Hall move closer, news both for and against the $1.3-billion project is starting to pick up speed.
The company and the city are currently negotiating terms of a deal under which AEG would privately develop the $1 billion Farmers Field, while the city would issue just under $300 million in bonds to reconstruct the aging and disconnected West Hall over Pico Boulevard.
This morning, AEG will host a press conference touting the results of two economic studies the firm commissioned. According to the L.A. Times, one study shows that the development would create $41 million in new annual tax revenue. The other says that reconfiguration of the Convention Center and the development of the stadium would boost L.A.'s convention total from 24 in 2012 to 38 in 2016.
Those numbers bolster the company's case that its proposal to privately fund the $1 billion Farmers Field is a no-brainer for the city. Those conventions can mean big business—the recently completed Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference was estimated to generate 53,500 hotel room nights and $48 million in economic activity.
Still, not everyone is ready to bank on those increased revenues. A group called LA Neighbors United took out a full-page ad yesterday (PDF) claiming that the increased revenues were likely to be wiped out by debt service and improvements near the stadium. It calls for a mandated 1% return on development costs that would be funneled into citywide improvements such as sidewalk repair.
Elsewhere, AP reporter Jacob Adelman says that AEG's plans could be an attempt to aid flagging sales in its adjacent Ritz-Carlton condo tower. According to Adelman, only 32 of the 224 luxury units have closed, with several of those sales going to AEG executives.
On Wednesday and Thursday evenings, July 27 and 28, the City Council's ad-hoc committee studying the project will hold hearings on a proposed agreement, which the City Administrator's Office is expected to deliver by Monday. After that, the talks will move to the full City Council, which will dedicate its entire meeting on Friday, July 29, to the project. Any vote would come in a followup meeting.