Just like at the Super Bowl, when two cities are battling it out for a football franchise, one ends up the victor and the other comes up empty-handed. Except that in the case of the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, which has just lost out to Inglewood and the Rams on the opportunity to bring an NFL franchise back to Los Angeles, they do have one thing to show for their shattered dreams: 157 acres of prime, freeway-adjacent real estate that was all ready to house a world class football stadium. Carson City Manager Ken Farfsing calls the now-former stadium site "one of the last swaths of land for development in the Los Angeles area and very lucrative property." According to the LA Times, Carson may have lost the battle, but ultimately won the war, walking away with a pricey piece of newly cleaned up land to develop at will.
Carson's NFL stadium was to have been built on the site of a former landfill, the Cal Compact dump—that land had been sitting dormant despite its prime location for the half century since the landfill closed. Developers have eyed the property time and time again, but deals continually fell through due to the high cost of decontaminating the property. But last May, with the possibility of the NFL on the table, the city of Carson was able to approve $50.5 million in bonds to clean up the site, money that would have been far harder to obtain simply for an indeterminate development. The NFL was the dangling carrot enticing Carson into some serious environmental cleanup.
The land was deemed safe last year by the California Toxic Substances Control Department, and come April, once offers of exclusive development to NFL franchises expire, its rights will revert back to the city. Carson is already mulling over the possibilities: residential use is out, due to potential obstacles stemming from the land's former use as a garbage dump, but commercial use is good to go. The city has considered plans for outlet malls and big box chains, but will be listening to other offers next week before deciding on the fate of the stadium site.
Still, Carson's NFL dreams die hard. The mayor still holds on to a small flicker of hope that the league will change its thinking, and come crawling back. Mayor Robles says that if the NFL "revisits the issue" the stadium site is still available until spring. Once April comes, though, the city's exclusive agreements with the Chargers and Raiders expires, and the land will be open to developers.
· With little NFL hope left, Carson looks to commercial prospects for its stadium site [LA Times]
· BREAKING: The Rams Are Coming Back to Los Angeles, and the Chargers Might Join Them [Curbed LA]
· See the Chargers and Raiders Pitch to the NFL to Build a Ridiculous Stadium in Carson [Curbed LA]
· Carson to Finish Cleaning Up Toxic Old Landfill Site So They Can Put an NFL Stadium On It [Curbed LA]
· Carson Trying to Call Dibs on All Land Surrounding Proposed NFL Stadium Site [Curbed LA]