The developers of a proposed 80,000-seat NFL stadium in Inglewood have been doing some fancy footwork to speed up the often sluggish process of building an enormous project. St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke just announced last month that he's joining Stockbridge Capital—which was already building an enormous megaproject with housing, a hotel, parks, and more on the old site of the Hollywood Park racetrack—to add a football stadium and entertainment venue to the project, and they want to break ground by the end of this year. That's lightning fast in SoCal development terms. How do they plan to pull that off?
First, Kroenke and Stockbridge are going to sidestep the usual pre-development process, which involves a length environmental report and is often accompanied by lawsuits from community groups, by putting the issue on on the ballot in Inglewood. (The actual issue is zoning changes that'll make it legal to build a stadium on the site.) If the planned stadium goes to a vote, Inglewood residents could be hitting the polls as soon as June to decide the stadium's fate.
Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration requires more review for tall buildings built close to an airport (the stadium site is about three miles from LAX), so "The developers plan to sink the stadium 100 feet into the ground, making it low enough to avoid the FAA study," says the LA Times.
The developers do seem to have community support—they only needed 8,400 signatures to put the stadium zoning to a vote and collected more than 20,000. But one Inglewood resident who attended a meeting about the stadium says, "It's moving forward pretty fast. I'm still not sure what we're signing or voting on." Other residents expressed doubt that sufficient environmental impact studies could be completed in such a short amount of time.
As fast as the preparations for a stadium are moving, the NFL has made it clear that they're the only ones who can grant Los Angeles a team. And without a team, what's the point of a stadium? And in the event that the NFL does decide to move a team to LA, there are several stadium projects in the area all competing for the NFL's favor. Inglewood is the newest and is looking like the strongest for now, but for a long time Downtown's Farmers Field really seemed like it would be the one. Los Angeles shortened the public review period for that stadium and the state even passed a special law to hurry it through the environmental review process, and now that project is limping along far behind a new frontrunner.
· Inglewood football stadium developers run a hurry-up offense [LAT]
· Rams Owner Planning to Build an NFL Stadium in Inglewood [Curbed LA]
· Inglewood NFL Stadium Takes First Huge Step Forward [Curbed LA]