With Rams’ stadium construction in the works, Inglewood is positioned to be a visionary home for modern venues
For the span of two decades, Los Angeles has been an idle venue for the stadium market, ripe for the taking. NFL teams shopping for new stadiums have frequently used Los Angeles as leverage for getting what they want from their hometowns, but now that is all set to change with the return of the Rams to LA.
The San Diego Chargers, St. Louis Rams, and the Oakland Raiders have all eagerly awaited the NFL’s owners’ approval for the big move either to Inglewood, where the Rams owner has bought property for a stadium, or Carson, where a proposed joint stadium between the Chargers and the Raiders was in talks. The 30-2 decision was made in Houston, which marked the much-anticipated return of professional football to LA—via the LA Rams in Inglewood—for the first time since 1994.
While the Chargers and Raiders would receive a $100 million bonus from the NFL towards stadium construction in their respective home markets of San Diego and Oakland, California, their shared ambition to build a state-of-the-art $1.7 billion, 72,000-seat stadium in the city of Carson has been quashed.
Meanwhile, the community of Inglewood is set for a “major economic leap forward.” Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s vision for a $1.86 billion, 80,000-seat stadium will be erected on the former grounds of the Hollywood Park Racetrack. The 300-acre site of “City of Champions” is already under-development, with the Rams’ stadium adorning the commercial complex as its crown jewel.
Originally, Hollywood Park Land Co. and Kroenke’s plans were announced in 2009 as 60 acres smaller, featuring a 4-million-square-foot retail, office, hotel, and residential project. With Kroenke’s partnership with HPLC, the stadium project is now expanded with offerings like a 6,000-seat performance venue. These two funding forces will keep the stadium construction entirely backed with private funds, so Inglewood residents and the city of Los Angeles won’t be responsible for paying taxes or subsidies for the stadium construction.
Estimates from the developers project over $25 million in new revenue for the city annually. This comes with a contingency calling for “reimbursement of public costs advanced by the landowner for public services and infrastructure,” including widened sidewalks, water and sewer systems, public parks, street lights, traffic lights, and other road improvements.
Inglewood has been experiencing a recent economic boost, including The Forum’s 2014 $70 million facelift, as Madison Square Garden’s first west coast venue. This overhaul meant revitalization with soul, returning the Forum’s original 1960s glamour—complete with a cherry red-white paint job on its legendary columns—while modernizing its flexible 8,000 to 17,500 seats. The Forum presented by Chase alone has guaranteed Inglewood at least $675,000 a year in revenue from parking, ticket, and concession taxes.
Will Inglewood become the modern entertainment hub of Los Angeles? The Inglewood stadium is set to launch as the “largest, most beautiful in the world”—in the words of Inglewood Mayor James Butts— just in time for the 2019 season.