City Council OKs ‘Plan B’ For Convention Center As NFL Hopes Dim
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to move forward with a back-up plan to expand and renovate the Convention Center without a football stadium.
Referred to by some officials as Plan B, the alternative Convention Center proposal (PDF) includes 300,000 additional square feet of exhibition space, additional meeting room space totaling about 75,000 square feet, and a new 45,000-square-foot ballroom, which would be the largest in the Los Angeles area, according to City Council documents.
Last Tuesday, a City Council committee and Mayor Eric Garcetti voiced support for the plan, which would effectively abandon a 2012 agreement between the city and developer Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG). The agreement, which is set to expire in October, hinges on the city attracting a National Football League franchise to downtown LA.
Following the City Council vote, architectural firms will invited in the coming weeks to take part in a design competition. Three finalist firms will be selected by August and be given $200,000 each to develop and present their proposals for the 43-year-old facility.
KNX 1070′s Pete Demetriou reports 9th District Councilman Curran Price said that while the NFL still has about four months to reach an agreement with the city and AEG, now the City Council has a fallback option.
“If the stadium doesn’t happen, we still are going to have to have a new facility,” Price said. “The action we took was to make some steps to prepare for that.”
At least one high-tech Convention Center concept is expected to be ready for presentation to the Council by early 2015, according to Price.
Last week, Garcetti signaled that it may be time to consider other options as political momentum to lure an NFL team back to LA wanes.
“It’s time to modernize our Convention Center so our city attracts the nation’s largest conventions and the economic benefits they provide,” Garcetti said.
AEG recently informed city officials that talks with the NFL have yielded little progress, Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller told the council’s Economic Development Committee last week.
Executives with the developer say they realize that it is in the city’s “collective interest” to move on with its own plans to improve the facilities of the Convention Center, Miller said.