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Inglewood Wants to Lend Forum Buyer Most of Purchase Price

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It's been more than a year since the Madison Square Garden Co. was reported to be in "final negotiations" to buy the Forum in Inglewood for $20-25 million (from the Faithful Central Bible Church). So why haven't they bought it yet? The usual reason: money. But the purchase could be about to take a big leap forward--last month, Inglewood approved an $18 million loan to MSG to be used for renovations to the 1967 arena, reports the LA Business Journal (sub. req.). The loan comes with several conditions, but it's not a sure thing either way, since the money originally came from the city's redevelopment agency, and the state killed local redevelopment agencies, and now all money that came from redevelopment agencies has to be approved. But back to the terms, for a minute: MSG will have to buy the Forum by July 1 and spend $50 million on renovations. Half the debt will be forgiven after five years of ownership; the whole thing will go away after ten. According to the LABJ, MSG plans on spending $61 million on the building, reupholstering seats, putting in new flooring and a new marquee, and upgrading the lighting. MSG hopes to attract "a minimum of 300,000 attendees to at least 40 events per year."

The city thinks the deal is worth it because it'll "make back $16 million in direct revenue over 20 years from sales taxes on tickets, parking, food, beverage and merchandise sales at the arena." And that doesn't include the jobs, sales taxes from surrounding businesses, and other fringe benefits.

So that all sounds ok, but there's a hitch--last January, as the ax hung over the head of all the state's redevelopment agencies, Inglewood "entered into an agreement in which the city’s redevelopment agency would transfer annual tax revenues of at least $15 million back to city for the next 23 years." That's the money it wants to use for the loan. But now that redevelopment agencies are officially, 100 percent dead and buried, the state can "review and take back transfers of assets between a redevelopment agency and a city" that took place after January 1, 2011. Lawyer Lew Feldman tells the paper "This could likely be a test case for the changes in redevelopment law."
· Inglewood Speaks Up for Forum Deal [LABJ, sub. req.]
· New York Group Looks to Bring Stadium Rock to Inglewood [Curbed LA]

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