By Dennis Romero and Gene Maddaus
Updated with sketches and remarks from the unveiling at 6:05 p.m.
As the owners of Staples Center were poised to unleash three architectural firms' distinct visions of what a proposed downtown stadium might look like, LA Weekly learned a few details about the plans ahead of time, including:
-The space needs of the stadium and adjacent new facilities would take up and shut down Cherry Street and Chick Hearn Court downtown, according to the “request for proposal” that went out to the design firms.
-Seating would be expandable from 72,000 to 76,250 (rather than the 65,000 base number circulated previously).
-While Staples honcho Tim Leiweke has said his company, Anschutz Entertainment Group, would pony up $1 billion for the stadium, the RFP had pegged the venue's cost at $750 million …
… which was maybe a way of giving the budget a little breathing room.
According to the RFP:
The construction budget for the Event Center is targeted to be not more than $725,000,000 for a facility designed not to exceed 1,750,000 square feet. The Event Center is currently programmed to have permanent seating for 72,000 for NFL games, including luxury suites and other premium seating opportunities, as more fully described in the Preliminary LA Event Center Program attached hereto as Attachment A. The design will also need to allow for expandable seating to 76,250 for hosting marquee events such as Super Bowls and World Cup Soccer final matches. In addition, planning for the Event Center site should include consideration of VIP parking spaces and sufficient parking for teams, building tenants, and venue employees.
In the meantime folks at Majestic Realty, which has a competing plan for a stadium in the San Gabriel Valley, doubt AEG's cost figures.
A source at Majestic notes that the new New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. cost about $1.6 billion, and that adding a retractable roof (an item Leiweke said he wants for L.A.'s stadium) and earthquake-code features would boost the cost of such a downtown venue to more than $2.3 billion.
What's more, the source doubted that AEG would not be asking for more public funds. Leiweke told us that not one cent of taxpayer money would go to building the stadium.
Our source notes that $300 million in city bonds would need to be floated (Leiweke says AEG would guarantee they'd be repaid): Not only that, but the Convention Center, part of which would be torn down, is under another $500 million or so in bond obligations.
We'll ask the folks at AEG about this and keep you posted.
UPDATE: Tim Leiweke did not put in an appearance at the 5 p.m. unveiling. Instead, Tim Romani of Icon Venue Group did the honors, first addressing concerns about the stadium's location.
“People might question a downtown stadium site and is there enough land for
this project,” Romani said. “Stadiums belong downtown. The most successful stadiums
anywhere are downtown stadiums.”
Romani also addressed the cost.
“Our calling card as project managers is to build buildings for a lot
less than people think,” he said. “We are not to spend more than a billion
dollars on the project. We can absolutely build this building on that
site for this budget.”
UPDATE 2: Majestic responds:
“Flashy renderings can't disguise AEG's call for taxpayer dollars at a time when California is broke,” said John Semcken, vice president of Majestic Realty.
It's on now.
Here are the sketches:
Gensler. Looking north toward the J.W. Marriott Hotel at L.A. Live (also designed by Gensler):
Gensler, looking west:
HNTB, looking south:
HNTB, from the end zone seats:
HKS. From the blimp view, it looks like a PB&J sandwich cut diagonally:
HKS. If that's a digital billboard, you're probably going to need a sign permit: