New Downtown Events Center Will Benefit AEG But What About Us?
The proposed football stadium and events center that would add to AEG's downtown L.A. Live empire has yet to get a green light from the city pending a thorough review or how the downtown monolith would benefit Angelenos. Aside from providing fertile grounds for an NFL team at what would be called Farmers Field.
We can be certain the center would greatly benefit AEG, as it would serve as a great incentive and standing advertisement to its hundreds of overpriced condos and rental units in the area. But what is the benefit to taxpayers?
While the city's Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller and City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana continue poring over the facts, City Council President Eric Garcetti summarized the pertinent issues that still need to be addressed in a letter to Miller and Santana. Garcetti insists the following points be considered by the City Council's Office of Economic Analysis:
- An environmental assessment must not be waived.
- Quality design must be utilized throughout the project, especially on the Pico corridor. The project must be incorporated with its surrounding community, and of key importance is pedestrian connectivity between the project and nearby residential communities. Public transportation and parking improvements that would be owned by the City are also necessary.
- The City shall receive a portion of any signage revenue.
- No taxpayer dollars shall be used to build the stadium.
- At least a majority of new revenues generated directly by the project must flow into the City's general fund to support increased police, fire, street repair and other public services, as opposed to being used to pay project-related expenses.
- The City would enjoy the full benefit of all revenues generated by off-site economic activity (e.g. restaurant sales, new hotels, etc.).Repayment of bonds used to finance the new Convention Center must be by way of near certain revenue sources, such as property taxes. This would likely require a bond amount far lower than the approximately $300 million that has been discussed.
- In the unlikely event that near-certain revenue sources such as property taxes are not generated, financial mechanisms must be in place to ensure there is no general fund exposure from the bonds.
- The length of a team lease must be at least as long as that of the bonds.
- A guarantee mechanism must be in place to ensure a new Convention Center hall is delivered under any project scenario.
- Guarantee mechanisms must be in place for the City to terminate the stadium ground lease and either operate the stadium or receive a cleared piece of land at no cost to the City.
AEG recently released the cutesy video below to state their argument. In short, lots of animated stick figures will want to fly to L.A. on airplanes and spend lots of money. Sounds good. Unfortunately Farmers Field's three-pronged slogan (It's about Jobs. It's about Pride. It's about Time) leaves out the obvious "It's about gridlock on the 110."