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Arts and Entertainment

Los Angeles May Be Getting A Soccer Stadium

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While plans for an NFL stadium in Los Angeles appear completely sacked, and plans for nearby venues still a football fantasy, plans for a soccer stadium in L.A. are actually nearing the goal line. The recently-formed Los Angeles Football Club plans to build the country's priciest privately-financed soccer stadium on the site of Exposition Park's Sports Arena, and the $250 million complex looks like it's on the fast track for approval.

If green-lit by the L.A. City Council and the Coliseum Commission—which seems likely, according to the L.A. Times—the stadium is expected to be completed in three years and will be the first open-air professional sports venue to be constructed in the city since Dodger Stadium in 1962.

The planned 15-acre complex would be built adjacent to the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, and will include a 22,000-seat stadium, a conference center, restaurants and a soccer museum, which the city has obviously been lacking, too. The stadium will be financed by the Los Angeles Football Club—the latest addition to the quickly-expanding Major League Soccer franchise—along with its ownership group, which includes Magic Johnson; Mandalay Entertainment Chief Executive Peter Guber, co-owner of the Dodgers and the NBA's Golden State Warriors; self-help author Tony Robbins, women's World Cup champion Mia Hamm and her husband, Nomar Garciaparra.

The project is expected to create 1,200 temporary construction jobs, 1,800 full time jobs and $2.5 million in annual tax revenue, according to the group. However, they did not release their estimates on how many soccer fans they think L.A. actually has or how many people will be jealous that they aren't getting a football stadium.

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Not unlike the neighboring Olympic Auditorium, the likely-to-be demolished iconic Sports Arena has seen many of L.A.'s biggest events since opening in 1959. The structure has some serious history—from the Kings, Clippers, and Lakers to both USC and UCLA basketball teams, and from the 1960 Democratic convention to the 1984 Olympics, not to mention countless concerts. But due to decline in use and disrepair, the tear-down is not expected to receive much resistance.

Final approval by the Coliseum Commission, the L.A. City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected by July, after which an addendum to an existing environmental impact report will be needed, which could take a year. Then demolition of the Sports Arena and construction of the new stadium is expected to take another two years.

Editor's note: a previous headline located this proposed stadium in the wrong neighborhood—not Exposition Park. We regret the error.

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