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The Five Biggest Los Angeles Cliffhangers of 2015

It's the end of December, when according to tradition we make up a bunch of awards and hand them out to all the best, worst, and shitshowiest of things that happened in Los Angeles this year. These are your 2015 Curbed Awards.

The NFL's Return to Los Angeles
Talk about building suspense! 2015 was dominated by news about the very real possibility that the NFL might actually, finally come back to LA. (Sorry Farmers Field, but we officially lost faith in you a while ago.) Rams owner Stan Kroenke formally announced in January his intention to use the Inglewood site he bought in 2014 to build an 80,000-seat football stadium, which was followed in February by an announcement that the Chargers and Raiders wanted to join forces at a dual stadium in Carson. And then things got really wild. Inglewood's even said it wouldn't mind having two teams play in its stadium, which could mix things up again.

But it seems like the NFL owners are split over which team(s), if any, should relocate, and there are plenty of reasons why each of them should just stay put too. Team owners are expected to vote on a move in January 2016, so hopefully LA won't have to wait too long to find out how this one ends.



Uber and Lyft Pickups at LAX
The LA City Council, after quite a bit of debate, decided over the summer that ride-hailing companies should be cleared to pick up passengers at LAX. (Right now they can only legally drop off.) But the road to actual airports pickups has been bumpy. Initially, it was projected that Thanksgiving travelers would be able to use the app-based services to get a ride home from the airport, but now here we are, at the end of 2015, and Uber and Lyft are still struggling to complete their applications for permits to operate at LAX, with no idea when they'll be finished. With any luck, 2016 will tie up this loose end before next Thanksgiving. Update 5:22 p.m.: Lyft was cleared for pickups, so now Uber alone is in limbo.


The 2024 Olympics
LA was not even supposed to be the US's bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, so thanks, Boston for dropping out! Another stumble followed, though, when the LA2024 committee submitted an official bid for the Games, and city officials cast some serious doubt on a few key parts, like the cost of hosting and the probability of buying the site where the visiting Olympians are supposed to temporarily live. The International Olympic Committee won't vote until 2017, but that's a lot of time for a gamechanging development or two. Will Union Pacific abruptly change course and suddenly decide to sell Piggyback Yard, the Olympic Village site touted in the official bid, or will another site emerge as a favorite? Will other venues back out of hosting events, as Griffith Park wants to? Only time will tell!


Airbnb Vs. Neighbors and Renters
LA is in the process of putting together an ordinance that will in some way regulate the basically lawless frontier of short-term rentals (which are technically illegal in most neighborhoods). In the fall, they heard public comments and are now drafting regulations. Short-term rentals are divisive: renters worry about being forced out of their homes so landlords can list their apartments at a more profitable nightly rate (like what happened to some rent-controlled tenants in Fairfax); neighbors have long spoken out against a high volume of strangers coming into their neighborhoods to have sex out in the open and party all the time.

Could LA follow the example set to the west? In May, Santa Monica gave Airbnb and short-term rentals the regulatory version of the finger, banning full-unit rentals (the biggest moneymakers for Airbnb) and allowing only home-sharing, where guests rent a bedroom or a guesthouse, but not the whole residence. Whatever happens, LA's expressed interest in eventually slapping taxes on the rentals, so it could turn out to be a big moneymaker for the city.



The Anti-Development Showdown That Spread from Hollywood to All of LA
More than anywhere else in LA, Hollywood was the most active battleground for a familiar fight between developers and those who opposed what they were trying to do (build stuff). And it was Hollywood that's been highlighted as a "microcosm" of development gone awry by the Coalition to Preserve LA, which proposed the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative ballot measure in November. The measure seeks to make LA stick to existing planning guidelines (many of which are very out of date) and to halt some development altogether for a few years; many felt that the version of LA that this measure seeks to "preserve" was itself out of date. The fight between those who want LA to stay as it is (and, in doing so, keep rents and housing prices sky high) and those who'd like to build, build, build, build is a meeting of what LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne called "two historic qualities of LA ... And we can't preserve both." One of the projects that the CPLA takes aim at, the Palladium Residences, has been staunchly opposed by some locals, but was nonetheless approved by a city commission recently.
· Curbed Award 2015 [Curbed LA]

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