With reporting from Simone Wilson.
The downtown stadium dreams of Anschutz Entertainment Group, the owners of Staples Center and LA Live, are coming true one spineless bureaucrat at a time.
The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a deal, negotiated mostly behind closed doors, that would allow AEG to build its $1.2
1.5 billion NFL venue atop city owned property — the L.A. Convention Center's West Hall.
L.A. would also borrow $275 million or so so the billionaire-controlled company to replace the West Hall space with new digs for conventions.
The city's Memorandum of Understanding would have AEG guarantee that the money would be paid back. The city would also get a cut of tax revenues generated by Farmers Field.
While the deal is rare in that it doesn't ask the public to build a stadium outright — something the NFL does in other cities — the group L.A. Neighbors United criticized the MOU, arguing that you, the taxpayer, aren't getting as much as you should.
Among other things, Neighbors says the prospect of two teams renting the Field isn't discussed in the MOU, meaning that any doubling-up of revenue wouldn't trickle down to the taxpayer.
It's also concerned that, while the stadium would be built on city property, most of the revenues from signage and advertising would go to AEG.
Added: Lest you forget, there's a competing stadium proposal in the San Gabriel Valley, forwarded by a company, Majestic Realty, that helped to develop Staples Center. That firm argues that, unlike the downtown stadium, its proposal has everything — a environmental impact report, architectural plans, bureaucratic approvals — ready to go. All it needs is a team.
John Semcken, VP of Majestic, issued this statement Tuesday afternoon:
Our stadium proposal will generate more money, jobs and long-term success for the region and the NFL. We are more active than ever and are currently working with the league, owners and teams to bring a franchise back to Los Angeles.