The NFL appears to be on the verge of returning to Los Angeles for the first time in two decades. There have been several stadium plans proposed over the years, most of which did not come close to getting off the ground. But with plans in both Inglewood and Carson, at this point, it would be surprising if one of the two did not happen.
The Hollywood Park Plan, Inglewood
The city of Inglewood captured the nation’s attention when St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke announced his plan to build a stadium for an NFL team, most likely his own, at Hollywood Park. A large portion of this plan is already underway.
The proposed 75,000-seat stadium will be accompanied by a 6,000-seat performance arts venue, 800,000 square feet of retail space, 790,000 square feet of commercial space, 2,500 residential homes, and 25 acres of park space. Hollywood Park would be transformed into a sports and entertainment district.
The retail space will be modeled after some of the popular venues in the Los Angeles area.
“Open air, similar to The Grove, or Third Street Promenade, where you have a pedestrian street that runs through the spine of the development,” said Gerard McCallum, project manager for the Hollywood Park Land Company. “It’s not like a closed in mall by any stretch of the imagination.”
There will also be a 300-room boutique-style hotel, and the performing arts center will bring more entertainment acts to Inglewood.
“Pretty much anything from concerts to theater shows will be featured,” McCallum said. “Obviously it will be a smaller venue than the Forum, that sits right next to it. The Forum will have bigger shows, and seat anywhere from 9,000 to 18,000 (people). This performance arts venue will have smaller shows, from 6,000 down to 1,500 seats.”
Hollywood Park would be turned into a small city thanks to the residential property that will be part of the development.
“Both single-family homes will join the existing homes that are currently adjacent to the site,” McCallum said. “There’s the Renaissance Property (to the east) and the 11th Avenue homes that are adjacent to the site. Single-family homes will be right next to that and then from there it will be mixed-use type of property (ranging) from single-family condominiums to town homes, as well as apartments.”
This will also be a family- and community-friendly environment.
“The park space, one portion of (the plan) will be a lake, with surrounding pathways for jogging,” McCallum said. “The other portions of the park will have fountains and things geared toward kids, and there will be some open play fields.”
The racetrack was not a part of the plans, but the casino will remain, adds McCullum
“The casino is still in operation,” McCallum said. “It is a separate parcel from the Hollywood Park development. A new building will be built just adjacent to where the existing casino is. It’s actually going to front Century Blvd. That construction began in June.
“The casino is one of the largest tax drivers in city of Inglewood, so we’ve agreed to keep that operating during the construction period. When the new building is up, 12:01 midnight, everybody will walk over to the new building and the other building will shut down, and then we will commence demolishing the old building.”
This development is not relying on the NFL retuning to the Southland, and it will move forward even if the football stadium is not built.
“We are currently under construction one the other portion of it,” McCallum said.“This project was actually (entitled) with a full environmental impact report in 2009, and that project started construction in March of last year. We’ve already moved to the point where we’re doing the infrastructure, which is the sewer lines being put in place, street widening, and utilities”
When this project is complete, it will make Inglewood one of the top destinations for sports and entertainment in the Southern California.
One of the major concerns Inglewood residents have with the developments at Hollywood Park is the traffic that will be created as more spectators come to the area. The developers of this project have done traffic reports, and getting cars in and out of the area smoothly has been a priority. This issue was actually addressed over 80 years ago, when Hollywood Park was built.
“If you look at Hollywood Park, built in the 1930s, as well as the Forum, built in the 1960s, and you look around the existing track, you see a lot of wide streets,” McCallum said—“Prairie Avenue, Century Boulevard, Manchester Boulevard. That’s primarily because the city, years ago, built in an infrastructure to handle quite a a large number of people coming into the city. As late as the late 1990s, between the Lakers playoff games and the track running up to 80,000 people, the area was able to accommodate that.”
However, even with the wide streets surrounding the area, there are some who believe the city’s traffic system needs to be addressed, because it has not been updated to be compatible with the intelligent traffic system that has been installed throughout the county.
“A part of this development will enhance a lot of those traffic signals to interface with the county’s systems,” McCallum said. “The intelligent traffic system will be added to the city’s existing system.”
While the area is expected to see a lot more traffic during the week because of all of the developments at Hollywood Park, the bulk of the traffic will come during NFL games, which may not be as big of an issue as people think it will be.
“NFL games are on Sundays, which is the least traffic impact day compared to the other days,” McCallum said. So there will be a lot of traffic capacity for a lot less stress on Sundays.”
Also factor in that an NFL team only plays eight regular-season home games a year.
Parking also does not appear to be an issue. There will be parking onsite, and within a mile and a half of the stadium, there will be over 44,000 parking spaces.
Fans riding the Metro will also relieve some of the traffic. There will be shuttles that pick up fans from two Metro stations (the Green Line, which runs along the 105 Freeway and the Crenshaw/LAX line, which will run along Florence Avenue), similar to the systems put in place for Dodger Stadium and the Rose Bowl. For Dodger games, fans can park at Union Station and take the shuttle for free over to the stadium, which is cheaper, and decreases traffic.
Traffic studies have been included with the Hollywood Park Plan environmental report, which is available to the public at.
The Carson Plan
The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders fans are usually at odds, but the owners of the two teams formed a united front with Carson2gether whose supporters held a festive tailgate party before the Carson City Council meeting in April.
Shortly afterwards, the City Council voted 3-0 to approve a potential new home for the Chargers and Raiders, and there appears to be a lot of local support.
“The tailgate was a mini celebration of accomplishing the feat of gathering 15,000 signatures in the city of Carson to qualify the pro football stadium initiative backed by the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders to build a $1.7 billion, 70,000-seat stadium, adjacent to the 405 freeway in Carson,” said Fred MacFarlane, spokesman for Carson2gether.
About 8,000 signatures were needed, and that number was quickly surpassed, which would support the belief that Carson residents want an NFL stadium in their city.
“There has been a lot of support that has been generated throughout the Carson community for this project,” MacFarlane said. “Carson has 46,000 registered voters, and we collected 15,000 signatures. I think that’s a clear indication of the level of support that the Carson2gether football stadium initiative has received to date.”
The proposed stadium site is on a 168-acre parcel adjacent to the 405 Freeway, between Del Amo and Avalon Boulevards. There has been a proposed stadium plan at this site before, as well as a shopping a mall. Along with this stadium plan, other developments, such as retail and commercial space, as well as restaurants, are possible.
“There are other developments planned for the site, but they have not been delineated yet,” MacFarlane said. “The focus of the initiative is to create a stadium project overlay to the existing zoning for that property.”
With local support from the City Council and voters, the project can move forward with the privately-funded stadium project.
“The taxpayers are not going to be on the hook for anything in terms of financing of the stadium project,” MacFarlane said. “The revenue generated by the stadium, as well as the investment from the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders will cover the cost of building and operating this facility.”
At this point, neither the Chargers nor the Raiders have committed to moving their teams to Carson, and there is not a scheduled date to break ground.
NFL seeks a temporary stadium in Los Angeles
In addition to the two indepedently-generated proposals, the NFL has sent requests to stadiums in Los Angeles to provide proposals for a team, and possibly multiple teams, to play in on a temporary basis. The Coliseum, Rose Bowl, Dodger Stadium, and Angels Stadium have been reported as possible sites. The StubHub Center, which only seats 27,000, could also be an option.
The Coliseum and Rose Bowl are considered the most likely sites, because both stadiums are designed for football, while Dodger Stadium and Angels Stadium would have to create a football field within a baseball stadium. However, the Rose Bowl has informed the NFL that their stadium will not be available for the NFL.
The Coliseum is still in play, and it appears that the stadium’s main tenant, USC, would welcome one NFL team, but it does not appear that they are willing to share the stadium with two professional teams (a clause in their contract with the Coliseum Commission allows them to share with one pro team. The NFL and college football seasons overlap, which would not be a problem with one NFL team. But two teams could cause some schedule0 issues.
With the Dodgers and Angels, football and baseball seasons overlap by about a month. The Rams used to share Angels Stadium with the Angels, and a football field could fit into Dodger Stadium
If two NFL teams come to Los Angeles, multiple stadiums may be needed because USC is willing to partner with only one team.
This is an important step for a team to move to Los Angeles, because once a team announces that they will be making the move, they more than likely will have to come to Los Angeles immediately. If a team stays in their home city while a stadium in the Los Angeles area is being built, it will be difficult for that team to sell tickets in their current city.
The projected completion date for the stadium plan in Inglewood would be 2018, and 2019 for Carson.