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Rams Owner Announces Plan To Build A Stadium In Inglewood
It's a new year, which means it's time for a new proposal to bring an NFL team coming to Southern California. We haven't had a team for two decades, so we've had to slog through a dozen or so proposals to move a team to downtown, the City of Industry or Pasadena among other places that haven't really panned out.The latest comes from the owner of the St. Louis Rams, Stan Kroenke, who has had a stake in the team since they left Anaheim in 1994. He's proposing to bring the team to Hollywood Park in Inglewood. The Los Angeles Times says this proposal is different because for the first time it's coming from someone who actually has enough land to build a stadium and parking.
Kroenke bought 60 acres next to the Forum last year, which isn't quite big enough for a stadium though it did raise eyebrows at the time. He told the Times that he has joined forces with the owners of the 238-acre Hollywood Park site, Stockbridge Capital Group. There is already a massive development in the works of retail, office, hotel and residential space, but their plan is to add a 80,000-seat NFL stadium and 6,000-seat performance venue.
"We are excited to unveil an expanded plan that will bring a world-class sports and entertainment district to Hollywood Park," Terry Fancher, founder of Stockbridge, said in a statement. "We are committed to working with [the Kroenke Group] to build a project that will put Inglewood back on the map as home of the truly great sports and entertainment venues."
Kroenke is in a position to make good on his bluff, but whether he will is another question. The Rams aren't happy with their outdated stadium in St. Louis, so this latest proposal could be nothing more than a way to put the pressure on St. Louis to update the stadium. The team has a 30-year contract with the city but they have the option to switch to a year-to-year lease at the end of the month because the two sides haven't worked out a deal for improvements. Kroenke is a developer as well as a sports mogul, so it looks like either way, he'll come out a winner.
The developers say that tax money won't be used to build the stadium, which is a good thing. Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. supports the deal and says the stadium could be up and running by 2018. It's too late to bring a team to Southern California for 2015, but next season is up for grabs and a team could play at the Rose Bowl or L.A. Coliseum in the meantime.
There have been rumors about Kroenke moving for awhile, leading Rams fans to wonder if their team will become a "lame duck" team. But there's a lot of skepticism in Los Angeles, which is now kind of used to being a bargaining chip for teams who aren't happy with their hometowns. St. Louis, for its part, says it's committed to being an NFL city.
The Hollywood Park still has some hurdles. Inglewood needs voters to give environmental clearance of the 60-acre site Kroenke owns, according to the OC Register. A proposal to bring a stadium to downtown Los Angeles has already cleared these hurdles—but no team jumped at the chance.
Some lingering Rams fans are excited, anyway:
And with this kind of team spirit, who can blame them?