LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s newly appointed commission to review a proposal to build an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles held its first meeting Thursday morning.
The Blue Ribbon Commission on the Downtown Events Center will discuss the panel’s goals, then hear a presentation from Tim Leiweke, president of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which is proposing the $1 billion project adjacent to Staples Center and the Los Angeles Convention Center.
The mayor’s panel is chaired by First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner and Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
“Our role is to carefully evaluate what is being worked on and ultimately what is proposed,” Beutner and Lynton said in a joint statement when the panel was created earlier this month. “We must ensure this project creates jobs while protecting the taxpayers. There are a lot of moving parts that need to be examined carefully.”
The panel also includes: Mark Attanasio, co-founder and managing partner of Crescent Capital Group; Bert Boeckmann, owner of Galpin Motors; Andrew J.C. Cherng, founder and chairman of Panda Restaurant Group; former Gov. Gray Davis; former Paramount Pictures CEO Sherry Lansing; and Richard Nanula, a principal at Colony Capital.
The Associated Press reported last week that most members of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s commission on the proposed stadium had financial, political or civic ties with sports and entertainment company AEG, but Buetner says that the panel is committed to doing what’s right for city residents. He also said AEG did not play a role in selecting committee members and that none would be prejudiced by their past dealings with the company.
Leiweke’s plan calls for demolishing the West Hall of the Convention Center to make room for a stadium with a retractable roof capable of seating 64,000-78,000 people. A new West Hall would be built on a different section of the Convention Center and the parking lot would be expanded.
The proposed plan would not cost any taxpayer money, according to Leiweke. He said $350 million in bonds would need to be sold to finance a new West Hall and parking lot, and to pay off debts on the existing building, but said that taxpayers would not be on the hook for it.
The proposal is contingent on an NFL team being approved for Los Angeles.
Billionaire Ed Roski has a competing proposal for an $800 million 75,000-seat NFL stadium in the City of Industry, about 30 miles from downtown.
Los Angeles has not had an NFL team since 1995, when the Rams moved to St. Louis and the Raiders returned to Oakland.
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