Los Angeles's brand new Major League Soccer team, Los Angeles Football Club, has just unveiled its plan for a new $250-million, open-air stadium in Exposition Park, on the site of the long-neglected LA Memorial Sports Arena, next door to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Shortly after Carson-based Chivas USA disbanded last fall, the MLS announced that Los Angeles would be getting a new team and a new stadium; the LA Times says that with this pricetag, the club's new home will be the most expensive privately financed soccer stadium in the nation.
The 1959 Sports Arena has been living on borrowed time for years. Designed by Welton Becket, the stadium hosted Wilt Chamberlain's first professional basketball game and the Democratic National Convention where John F. Kennedy was nominated for president, plus boxing matches for the 1984 Olympics. But over time it fell by the wayside, especially as the Staples Center drew away big-name events to Downtown and USC moved basketball to its Galen Center. In 2010, the LA Coliseum Commission commissioned an environmental impact report that considered replacing the old venue with a soccer stadium or an outdoor amphitheater. Three years later, when Chivas was looking for a place to go after their lease ran out at Carson's Stub Hub Center (where the LA Galaxy play), the team eyed the Sports Arena as the possible site of the new MLS stadium they so badly wanted.
But it was LAFC that finally landed the new stadium; their proposal, designed by Gensler, would have 22,000 seats and include a soccer museum, a conference center, and eateries. It's awaiting approval from Coliseum Commission and the LA City Council, but both are expected to sign off by July. Developers would have to make some additions to the 2010 environmental impact report (which could take a year), and the actual demolition and construction will add on two more years to the project, meaning that the football club would debut at their new home in 2018—a year behind schedule.
· Expansion L.A. soccer team plans new stadium on Sports Arena site [LAT]
· Los Angeles is Getting a New Soccer Team and Stadium [Curbed LA]
· LA's New Soccer Team Might Crowdsource Its Name and Logo [Curbed LA]
· Here Are the 5 Potential Spots For a New Chivas USA Stadium [Curbed LA]
· Sports Arena On its Way Out, But Does LA Need Another MLS Stadium? [Curbed LA]