Downtown Stadium Dreams Advance; AEG Settles Environmental Lawsuit For $15 Mil

The would-be developer of a downtown football stadium and a group that was essentially suing it over possible environmental impacts announced today that they are making nice.

Money can make foes play nice real fast, and in this case developer Anschutz Entertainment Group has agreed to help establish a $15 million fund for affordable housing in the area, including nearby Pico-Union.

The lawsuit by the Play Fair at Farmers Field Coalition objected to ...

... a special law passed in Sacramento that will send legal challenges to the stadium's possible environmental impacts directly to appeals courts, cutting some red tape but, perhaps, weighing justice in favor of AEG.

Today AEG, which plans to build the 72,000-seat stadium and revamp the Convention Center West Hall next door to Staples Center, stated:

Downtown Stadium Dreams Advance; AEG Settles Environmental Lawsuit For $15 Mil

The Play Fair Coalition has secured commitments from Farmers Field on a wide range of community benefits and measures, including funding for affordable housing, air quality improvement projects, improvements serving bus riders, additional parks and open space, neighborhood improvement plans, and a community team to promote health in the surrounding area. The centerpiece of the agreement reached by AEG and the Play Fair Coalition is a $15 million Housing Trust Fund which will create affordable housing units in Pico-Union, South L.A. and Downtown Los Angeles.

More:

AEG and the Play Fair Coalition have agreed to a community input process, a public safety working group and access for small local vendors to participate during events at Farmers Field. The agreement also strengthens and extends local hiring, living wage and disadvantaged worker initiatives already committed to by AEG.

There have been recent questions about the future of what's being called Farmers Field because AEG announced it's up for sale. The company says the deal, which could be worth $10 billion or more if it finds a buyer, won't affect the stadium plans.

But the project is projected to cost $1.5 billion or more, paralleling a good chunk of that sale price. Tim Leiweke, CEO of AEG, sounded upbeat about the settlement:

With this important milestone, for the first time in almost two decades the City of Los Angeles is finally poised to see the return of the NFL. With this settlement in place, the project can move forward to spur job creation and offer an even more robust package of measures benefitting the community.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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