L.A. Unveils Plans for Football Stadium

Fri May 02, 2008 - West Edition
John Nadel - AP SPORTS WRITER



LOS ANGELES (AP) Billionaire developer Edward P. Roski Jr. has made a commitment to build the kind of stadium an NFL team needs to thrive in Los Angeles. Now, he’s hoping one will commit to play there.

Roski, a part owner of the NHL’s Kings and NBA team the Lakers who has spent years trying to lure the NFL back to this area, unveiled plans April 18 for a 75,000-seat facility in the City of Industry he said could be finished in time for the 2011 season.

“I intend to develop our stadium project that meets all of the NFL requirements, and more,” Roski said at a Staples Center news conference, where stadium models and artist renditions were displayed. “Always the most important thing has been the certainty of doing this. A team is not going to commit to coming to Los Angeles without a stadium. We’ve taken this one point of uncertainty and made it a certainty. The stadium is a certainty and it will be built.”

And, Roski added, without public money.

“Absolutely no taxpayer dollars,” he said. “There’s no taxpayer dollars to get.”

The proposed site, about 20 mi. (32 km) east of Los Angeles, would be surrounded by a shopping mall, and located on a vacant property which Roski already owns. Roski said around 12 million people live within 25 mi. (40 km) of the site.

“We are aware of it and are monitoring all stadium-related developments in southern California,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said from his New York office.

Roski said the cost would be around $800 million, adding the stadium will be built into a hillside meaning far less steel will be required. And that, he said will result in a cost of approximately $400 million less than it might be otherwise.

Roski said the site is already zoned and an environmental impact report was approved in 2004.

“A supplemental EIR is currently in progress,” he added, saying construction could begin as early as the final quarter of this year and parking requirements would be met. We’ll make it happen, just as we did here at Staples Center with the Lakers and Kings.”

The one obvious obstacle standing in the way is a tenant for the new stadium. Possibilities might include the New Orleans Saints, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings and San Diego Chargers because of their stadium uncertainties.

Roski made it clear construction will not begin until a team agreed to move, adding he did not expect an expansion team to be involved.

The NFL has said it has no plans to expand from its present 32 teams, and it’s also clear Los Angeles is not a high priority with the league at this time. But that might not stop a team with stadium uncertainties to make the move.

“No team is going to say they’re going to come here until we have this,” Roski said of the stadium plan. “We have not talked to any teams. Now, we will start the second phase of it. We’ll start talking to the NFL and the teams. We’ve got this out of the way. Now, we’ll concentrate on getting a team.”