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In continuing his pledge to forge a “New Ninth,” Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price announced recently that a key step has been taken in the proposed construction of the city’s latest sports stadium. Also, a multi-million-dollar refurbishment of the Los Angeles Convention Center is under discussion within the city’s Economic Development Committee, the first such plan in two decades to upgrade the aging facility adjacent to Staples Center.

The new stadium, to be built on the site of the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, will house a new franchise in Major League Soccer and is expected to be completed prior to the 2018 season. The stadium will seat 22,000 persons, with the entire project including more than 100,000 square feet of retail and office space. There will also be a conference center and a soccer museum. More than 1,200 new construction jobs and in excess of 1,800 full time jobs will reportedly be created. The new facility is expected to pump in just over $2.5 million in annual tax revenue for the city. The Economic Development Committee has approved a recent motion by Price to expedite the construction of the facility by requesting the cooperation of specific city departments involved in the project.

“This project will not only bring L.A.’s thousands of soccer fans a new home team to cheer for, it would also be a huge investment for the district I represent and the entire city,” said Price, chairman of the Economic Development Committee. “We want to make sure we do everything we can to maximize its benefit to the community.”

The Economic Development Committee also received an update on the status of the proposed upgrade of the convention center. The renovation and expansion of the center will reportedly cost as much as $350 million and may include a 1,000-room hotel. Price said the current facility needs about 8,000 rooms in total to accommodate 90 percent of the city’s convention market. The committee also approved a motion on ways to increase the city’s revenues from surrounding parking lots.

“As a world-class city, Los Angeles deserves a world-class convention center, and that is what I am committed to approving,” Price said. “This expansion plan will compliment and build on the successful redevelopment of downtown. I am eager to see these new design plans so that we can select the best, helping us to attract the largest amount of convention business.”

A design competition for the convention center has been underway for about a year; competitors were asked to address a series of goals and criteria including, but not limited to: a commitment to the environment, a point of view on the “futurization” of conference centers, and overall creativity and budget. The three final teams are led by architects from AC Martin Inc. and LMN Architects, Gensler and Lehrer Architects, and HMC Architects and Populous. The three proposals are under review by key city organizations and it is anticipated that the recommended team will be selected by the end of the year.

“We’re taking a big step forward in investing in our future and bringing in more business, more visitors and more jobs to our city,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “I’m very pleased that with these functional and attractive designs, Los Angeles is closer to a convention center that reflects our city’s position as the global capital of creativity, innovation and possibility.”

Robert R. “Bud” Ovrom, executive director for the Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism Development, is equally excited about the convention center expansion, noting, “This is a tremendous opportunity for the city to maximize the economic benefits that the Los Angeles Convention Center brings to our city, our tourism and to local businesses.”