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Dodgers Hire Ex-Pershing Square Planner For Chavez Ravine

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It sounds like the new Dodgers ownership is ready to get started on modernizing its stadium and for perhaps much, much bigger development plans--today they announced they've hired current Baltimore Orioles planning and development exec Janet Marie Smith as their new Senior VP of Planning and Development (she holds a bachelor's in architecture and a master's in urban planning). Smith is known for heading up the Orioles's Camden Yards stadium project in the early nineties; according to the Dodgers release, "Camden Yards is considered the archetype for new ballparks and ushered in a wave of downtown ballfields." In the intervening years, she's worked in Boston, "overseeing preservation of and improvements to historic Fenway Park and its surrounding neighborhood," as well as in Atlanta and Baltimore (again). But back in the eighties, as the LA Weekly notes, Smith lived in LA and served as executive director of the Pershing Square Management Association, the group that led revitalization efforts at Downtown's favorite eyesore. (That might not sound so promising to anyone who's ever been to Pershing Square, but it is a different planning era now and Smith is known for championing the urban ballpark, so let's give her a chance, gang.)

The Dodgers release says only that "Smith will oversee upgrades and enhancements to Dodger Stadium," but pretty much everyone thinks owners Guggenheim Baseball Management has grander aims for the surrounding Chavez Ravine land. Former owner Frank McCourt unveiled a massive plan for the whole area (with retail, a museum, and open space) during his tenure and still owns much of the land around the stadium.

Meanwhile, the LAW points us to a 1997 LA Times opinion piece by Smith, in which she wrote that "the development of [stadium-]adjacent land will only occur if there is a vision for a development plan that is fundable and market-driven, independent of the team's presence ? a properly planned, mixed-use development could co-exist with Dodger Stadium on the 365-plus acres of Chavez Ravine, comfortably providing needed parking for business, residential, entertainment and baseball alike. But the success of such a development will be dependent on the market value and desirability of the location, proposed uses and image of the project. Mere proximity to Dodger Stadium isn't enough." Image via LAT
· Janet Marie Smith named Senior Vice President of Planning and Development [Dodgers]
· Everyone Betting on Dodger Stadium Land Development [Curbed LA]

Dodger Stadium

1000 Vin Scully Ave, , CA 90012 Visit Website

Pershing Square

532 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, CA