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Industry NFL Stadium Backing Down, Downtown Stadium Talking Big

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The dueling NFL stadium proposals in Downtown and Industry today provide a nice Machiavellian lesson on power. Underdog Industry developer Majestic is privately saying it could admit defeat while publicly acting all tough about how great it's doing; invulnerable-feeling Downtown developer AEG, meanwhile, is trying to bully the legislature into giving its plan protection from lawsuits.

From the San Gabriel Valley Tribune: "[Developer Ed Roski Jr. [of Majestic] has talked to Industry officials about the possibility of building retail stores instead of an NFL stadium?Mayor Dave Perez said Thursday." Majestic already had an environmental impact report for the retail project approved years ago (under state law, large projects need EIRs to go ahead), and the city says they're ok with him going back to it. Majestic also has an NFL stadium EIR, but a specially-passed state law protected it from legal challenges.

Despite the talk of backing down, Majestic's vice president John Semcken tells the paper "(Roski) looked me in the eye, and he said, 'John, we are 1,000 percent closer than we were a month ago'" to getting the stadium built.

Meanwhile, right now up in Sacramento a meeting of the Senate Select Committee on Sports and Entertainment is discussing a Majestic-style environmental law exemption for AEG's proposed Farmers Field Downtown stadium project. Here's the LA Times: "'If we don't succeed in getting something this [legislative session, which ends in about two weeks], that will be a significant blow to the project, and we would have to reevaluate the path forward from here,' said Ted Fikre, chief legal and development officer for Anschutz Entertainment Group." It's not the first time AEG has threatened to take its football and go home over now getting its way with this project--earlier this summer president Tim Leiweke said they'd drop plans if the LA City Council didn't meet its deadline for a preliminary deal.

AEG is suggesting that any environmental challenge to its plan get three months tops to play out and be resolved via binding arbitration or a limited court review. Back in the SGV Tribune, Industry Assemblyman Charles Calderon, who backed the exemption for Majestic's plans, "said legislators would be hard-pressed to support any kind of exemption for a downtown stadium in the foreseeable future."
· Industry mayor: Roski uncertain about NFL stadium plans, discusses building retail stores instead [SGVT]
· L.A. stadium plan hinges on Legislature's actions [LAT]

Farmers Field

W. Pico Blvd. & S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90015 Visit Website