Tuesday, October 2, 2012

City of Los Angeles Approves Revised Universal Expansion and NFL Stadium Addition to Downtown Urban Entertainment Center

by Joe Kleiman, IPM News Editor

Los Angeles, CA, USA (October 2, 2012) -- On September 27, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission authorized the NBC Universal Evolution Plan Alternative 10 to proceed to the next stage of approval.  According to paperwork filed with the city, this "No Residential Alternative would eliminate all 2,937 residential units  of the proposed Project and 180,000 square feet of neighborhood and community serving commercial uses and would add approximately 307,949 additional net new square feet of Studio Uses of which 50,000 square feet would be located within the City, approximately 647,320 additional net new square feet of Studio Office uses of which 205,000 net new square feet would be located in the City and an additional 1,000 Hotel rooms of which up to 500 rooms would be located in the City within the Entertainment Area. Alternative 10 includes additional parking structures."

The Los Angeles Times reports that a key provision in allowing the plan to go forward was NBC Universal's agreement to invest in bike paths on the property:

"The bike path along the L.A. River was a key demand of environmentalists and bicycle enthusiasts, who were among the most vocal opponents of NBCUniversal’s original expansion plan.

"On Thursday, the movie and television production company agreed to commit more than $3.3 million for planning, construction and improvement of future bikeways between the movie studio and the waterway and bike-related facilities on nearby streets."

One day later, September 28, the Los Angeles City Council approved construction of the $1.2 billion dollar Farmer's Field, a downtown NFL stadium to be developed at the LA Live Urban Entertainment Center (UEC) by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG).  No public funding is expected to go into construction of the new stadium.

AEG owns and/or operates a number of arenas, stadiums, convention centers, and concert venues worldwide, as well as two UEC's, the O2 in London (formerly the Millennium Dome) and LA Live, adjacent to the Los Angeles Convention Center, and which is comprised of two luxury hotels, the Grammy Museum, a movie complex, residential development, shopping and dining options, the Nokia Live theater, and the Staples Center sports arena, home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers of the NBA and the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL.

Los Angeles has been given priority by the NFL for a new team as, since the mid-90's, it has been the largest metropolitan market without a franchise.

The Council's decision comes two weeks after billionaire Phil Anschutz placed his company, AEG on the auction block.