INGLEWOOD (CBS) — The owners of Madison Square Garden have developed an ambitious plan to turn the faded Forum into a juggernaut that would challenge the region’s big arenas, including Staples Center and its owner, the politically connected AEG, it was reported Tuesday.
KNX 1070’s Ron Kilgore the company known as MSG Entertainment has paid $23.5 million for the Forum and will start work this year on a $50 million renovation.
“We’re very excited about Los Angeles and we couldn’t be more excited about the Forum,” said company president Melissa Orman. “It’s an iconic, beloved venue, and we think there is room in the market for another arena and we think that people will welcome the opportunity to play a revitalized Forum in a revitalized Inglewood.”
Details of the plans include transforming the former home of the Lakers and Kings into a top-flight concert hall.
The Forum once was Southern California’s preeminent entertainment venue. But the famous round building fell on hard times after the Lakers and Kings moved downtown, and venues in up-and-coming neighborhoods nabbed the concert business.
In the end, the Forum was bought by the Faithful Central Bible Church.
A revitalized Forum would provide an economic lift to Inglewood but faces competition from other entertainment venues amid a challenging climate in the concert business.
The owners of Staples Center said they don’t fear a rivalry with the East Coast impresarios. They were quick to raise questions about the security of the neighborhood surrounding the Forum and dismissed it as a “class B” venue, The Times reported.
(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)