Inglewood residents might not all be on board, but the Clippers and city leaders are driving forward with plans to build a $1 billion NBA arena in the booming city. They released the first renderings Thursday of the striking, metal-clad complex that would rise across from the under-construction NFL stadium on Century Boulevard.
Designed by AECOM, the Clippers arena would take the shape of an oval with a “unique exterior of diamond-shaped metal panels inspired by the concept of a basketball swishing through a net.”
“Our goal is to build a facility that re-sets fans’ expectations while having a transformative impact on the city we will call home,” says Clippers chairman Steve Ballmer.
The Clippers expect the privately-financed arena to open in 2024, when the team’s lease at the Staples Center in Downtown LA expires.
But the project will have to overcome a legal challenge from residents who have sued to stop construction. They say the 22 acres of city-owned land should have been shopped around for an affordable housing development before it was eyed for an NBA arena.
Those residents fear another development will accelerate the rapid growth of housing costs in the area. The price of renting and buying has soared since 2016, when the NFL agreed to let the Rams and Chargers relocate to Inglewood. The future home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers is set to open next year.
But Mayor James Butts, who introduced a rent control measure approved in June to help keep residents in their homes, has championed the arena.
“The Clippers’ presence in our city will create a sustainable revenue source and boost civic pride, revitalizing our community for years to come,” he said in a statement.
In June 2017, the City Council voted to enter into an “exclusive negotiating agreement” with the owners of the Clippers to bring the arena to Inglewood. Nearly two years later, in May, the Los Angeles County District Attorney determined that city leaders had not given the public enough notice about a deal.
The DA went so far as to say that there appeared to be “concerted efforts between representatives of the city” and the owners of the Clippers “to limit the notice given to the public.” But Deputy District Attorney Bjorn Dodd said too much time had passed to take any action.
Madison Square Garden, owner of the nearby Forum, has also sued the city over the arena plans. It accuses city leaders of secretly negotiating with the Clippers to build the arena on land that it once leased.
Released Thursday along with the renderings were details on the arena design. In addition to the arena, training facility, and offices, the complex will hold a plaza with a concert stage, public basketball courts, and community gathering space.
The most “striking” feature of the arena will be indoor and outdoor “sky gardens,” landscaped areas for eating and drinking, accessible from every concourse level.
The Clippers say the project would generate $268 million in “economic activity” and $190 million in tax revenue from 2020 to 2045.
If the Clippers arena is ultimately built, it will be part of a dramatic reshaping of Inglewood.
The city will be soon be home to three stops on the forthcoming Crenshaw Line, a train that will run through South LA.
The NFL stadium will be surrounded by 2,500 units of housing, 620,000 square feet of retail space, a “social hub” with a “culinary marketplace” and “giant outdoor movie screen,” a 300-room luxury hotel, and a revamped Hollywood Park Casino. The community is being developed by Wilson Meany and Stockridge.
Wilson Meany would also develop the Clippers arena.