South Park was thrown into turmoil yesterday with the announcement that LA Live developer AEG has been taken off the auction block--the move (which also includes the departure of longtime CEO Tim Leiweke and the "reengagement" of Denver-based owner Philip Anschutz) makes AEG's already-tenuous plan for a Downtown NFL stadium even tenuouser somehow, and that means trouble for a much-needed overhaul of the LA Convention Center. The Farmers Field plan was already looking dicey, despite getting approvals from the city last fall; the NFL has been lukewarm on the terms since the beginning and has lately been making a lot of noise about wanting to bring football to Chavez Ravine. But then there's the Convention Center: the Farmers plan includes a huge makeover of the aging and weirdly-laid-out complex, paid for more or less by AEG. The city has been dedicating a lot of energy in the past few years to increasing convention center activity and bringing more hotel rooms to the area to accommodate lots of big conventions, so if the NFL stadium doesn't happen, LA would lose out on a lot more than just football. The deal was approved in September 2012, but expires after two years.
Councilmember Jan Perry has just announced that she'll introduce a motion next week asking staff to look into alternative plans for the Convention Center: "The motion will ask the staff to explore potential ways to upgrade the current Los Angeles Convention Center without an NFL stadium."
Meanwhile, everyone's still begging and pleading for football to come Downtown. Giving rare interviews yesterday, Anschutz said the latest shuffle "makes it more likely" that LA will get a football team (to the LA Times). He also said "It's time for the NFL to get serious and decide what they want to do ? It doesn't do any good to sit on the sidelines all the time. Clearly a deal can get done. And by the way, this isn't a terribly complicated deal to get done" (to the Daily News). But Mayor Villaraigosa is telling AEG to make it happen: "I call on AEG to live up to its commitment by immediately sitting down with the NFL to reach an agreement."
· NFL Stadium Developer No Longer For Sale, Leiweke Leaving [Curbed LA]
· Meet LACOEX, LA's Proposed New Elevated Convention Center [Curbed LA]