Another hurdle cleared for the Downtown NFL stadium, even as the developer preps to be sold: today the City Council's Ad Hoc Committee on the Downtown Stadium and Convention Center Renovation signed off on AEG's Farmers Field plan, which includes the stadium and a reconfiguration of the Convention Center. Meanwhile, rumors are flying about who might buy AEG, which owns LA Live and Staples Center too. AEG President Tim Leiweke said at the meeting that the sale decision was only made a few weeks ago (which perhaps makes Mayor Villaraigosa's statement that "I have known about this potential sale for some time" a little bit of an eyebrow-raiser), according to the Downtown News. The Daily News reports that "AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke 'apologized for the disturbance and disruption of the process'." But "Even as the council members said they were caught off guard by the news, they didn't press Leiweke for details on the sale." Great jobs, guys. It sounds like all this nonsense is making everyone a little punchy: the city's Chief Legislative Analyst did say that "the city would put in protections to make sure they weren't working 'with a crook'" and Councilmember/committee member Tom LaBonge "gave a series of rambling speeches" and tossed a football around.
Meanwhile, the Natural Resources Defense Council, which has supported the stadium plan, seems pretty miffed--their lawyer tweeted "It's a classic developer trick, where you get into a project, and you get the entitlements and you sell to someone to use." The City Planning Commission approved the project earlier this month and the City Council is set to give final approvals this Friday. Meanwhile, AEG says it'll be sold by March, when the NFL makes a decision on sending a team (or two) to LA.
And to the rumormongering: Reuters reports that LA's richest man, Patrick Soon-Shiong, has joined up with Guggenheim Partners, who recently bought the Dodgers, to make a bid for AEG. Soon-Shiong already owns a small part of AEG's Lakers and "is particularly interested in bringing a professional football team to Los Angeles, and aims to buy a team or encourage one to move so it can play in the new stadium, said one source."
· City Council panel approves proposed NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles [LADN]
· Decision to Sell AEG Only Came Recently, Leiweke Says [Downtown News]