As the Rams prepare for their first regular season game representing Los Angeles since 1994 (they take on the 49ers tonight at Levi’s Stadium), work is moving right along on the team’s new stadium in Inglewood.
So far, workers have reduced the construction site to a massive pile of dirt. And we mean massive. The nearly three million-square-foot stadium—soon to be the largest in the NFL—is being constructed in conjunction with a sprawling mixed use development that will add 3,000 units of housing, more than 620,000 square feet of retail space, a hotel, music venue, and public area complete with an artificial lake at its center.
All together, the stadium and surrounding village will occupy about 300 acres on what used to be the site of the Hollywood Park race track. The 70,000-seat venue is expected to be complete in time for the start of the 2019 season. In the meantime, the Rams will play in the city of Los Angeles itself for the first time since the team relocated to Anaheim in 1980. They’ll call the Coliseum home for the next three years.
The timeline on the new stadium’s construction might seem slow by NFL standards, where the average player’s career lasts less than three years, but it’s remarkably quick for a development of its scale. The project was fast tracked when Rams owner Stan Kroenke bypassed the lengthy environmental review process necessary for most major development projects in California by gathering enough signatures for a ballot initiative submitting the stadium plans to voters for approval. Of course, this was merely a formality; once Kroenke got his signatures, the Inglewood City Council was able to approve the project themselves—which they quickly did.
At a projected cost of up to $2.66 billion, the new stadium will be the most expensive in NFL history. Fortunately for Inglewood taxpayers, it will be entirely privately financed—somewhat unusual in the world of modern professional sports.