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Battle for Los Angeles: Two Vying Stadium Bids

Two billion-dollar stadium proposals compete for the winning bid to build a football stadium in downtown L.A.
 LA's skyline may see a new stadium

Check out this piece in our beautifully rendered February issue of Construction Digital - also available on our iPad app.

It’s been nearly 17 years since the City of Angels enjoyed a home NFL team, and developers are looking to bring the game back to the region by wooing teams with a brand new football stadium.

There are two major competitors for the rights to build the new sporting complex – Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and billionaire Edward P. Roski, both of whom have set forward multiple proposals to the City and surrounding communities. With heavy proponents and staunch critics for each project, it is not altogether clear which bid – if either – will gain the public and political support needed to break ground. With the promise of construction and retail jobs plus millions in tax revenue, though, city officials are eager to see the bright stadium lights illuminate the L.A. skyline.

The Los Angeles Stadium (Edward P. Roski)

Edward P. Roski, the developer who helped build the Staples Center, is planning a 600-acre entertainment complex in the City of Industry – just over twenty minutes outside downtown Los Angeles. The location puts the project within an hour of over 15.5 million people, and developers boast the site’s easy access from the 57 and 60 freeways.

The sprawling park will host beer gardens, a music stage, shops and restaurants, and one of the most environmentally friendly stadiums ever built, and the only LEED Certified NFL stadium to date. The football arena will be dug into an existing hillside, working with the grade to minimize excavation work and reduce the need for steel and other building materials by up to 40 percent. The more than 25,000 parking spaces will provide ample room for weekend tailgating, and the complex itself will be able to accommodate up to 75,000 fans.

LAS Property.jpg

Aside from pride and filler for Monday nights, the main motivations behind the project for officials of the second largest metropolitan area in the U.S. are economic. Roski’s plan would bring over 18,000 jobs to the region, and generate $21.2 million in tax revenue for local governments. Altogether, the project promises over $700 million in economic growth for the region, while remaining entirely privately-funded. With cheaper real estate and cost-saving initiatives, the plan will cost approximately $800 million.

The complex will have to be self-sufficient, though – the City of Industry isn’t particularly well-known for a bustling entertainment scene. With fewer restaurants and other attractions nearby, fans will want these amenities on site – and Roski’s plan incorporates many on the expansive grounds.

The project has been met with criticism from nearby counties, who cite increased traffic and environmental strain. Millions in settlement funds have been given to move the project along, but one hurdle remains – securing an NFL team. Roski has said that the stadium will not break ground until a team has committed to the Los Angeles area, but as of the end of 2011 they have yet to lure any potential franchises.

Farmers Field (AEG)

AEG’s first attempt at a stadium proposal in 2002 involved Edward Roski, but the firm has since made an independent bid. The current proposal involves a 1.7 million square foot complex across from the Staples Center in the downtown area.

The proposed site has gone through several redesigns by Gensler, the design firm in charge of the project. The latest includes a deployable roof, which would give the stadium a lighter, less obstructive appearance while maintaining the option to host events in an indoor environment.

The complex would host 68,000 fans, with expansion capacities of up to 78,000 for special events. The privately-funded project would run a tab over $1 billion, but the firm hopes the new stadium will open up Los Angeles to potentially host larger events like the Super Bowl, World Cup, or future Olympic Games.

FF Stadium.jpg

AEG is taking similar environmental steps to ensure a green-friendly presence in the downtown area, working to reduce carbon emissions and water-usage by 20 percent and maximizing recycling and careful management of waste construction materials. The stadium itself will be LEED Certified and carbon neutral, and with the planned transportation infrastructure will also boast the lowest cars-per-ticket-holder ratio of any NFL venue.

One concern for the complex is parking – while AEG states that over 32,000 spaces are available within 15 minutes of the stadium, this may not take into account potential conflicts with the nearby Staples Center. The lack of a central, proximal tailgating space may have some fans up in arms, but local businesses may welcome the hungry and thirsty overflow crowds. The project also promises up to 30,000 jobs for the area, with nearly $2 billion in communal investment and support.

There’s no denying the architecture for Farmers Field is unique, and AEG and its partners have worked hard to make the stadium a symbol for the Southern California region. Tim Romani, President and CEO of ICON Venue Group – the stadium’s Project Manager – comments, “We have really challenged the Gensler team to create a unique design for Farmers Field that is destined to become another distinguished signature building for Los Angeles, and at the same time a remarkable achievement in venue functionality and sustainability.”

Stadium Stand-off

It’s unclear which of these remarkable projects will house a future Los Angeles NFL team, but in either case the L.A. region stands to gain one of the greenest, most advanced sporting complexes in the United States. With tens of thousands of jobs, millions in tax revenue, a much-needed economic stimulus, and city pride on the line, 2012 is sure to provide some heavy off-the-field competition.

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