LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — A developer that proposed building an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles asked the mayor and other city officials Monday for more time to lure a professional football team.
Anschutz Entertainment Group’s two-year agreement for the right to replace the city’s convention center with a 76,000-seat stadium and a new $287 million convention center wing hinges on landing an NFL franchise. If that deal expires Oct. 18, the city would take control of redeveloping its outdated convention center.
AEG Chief Executive Dan Beckerman said in a letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti and two City Council members that the firm needs six more months for talks that have resumed with the NFL.
Eric Grubman, an NFL executive vice president, said that discussions with AEG are preliminary, but the league is encouraged enough to support the company’s extension request.
Garcetti said in a statement that he supports giving the company more time, though the main objective is to get a new convention center that can bring money into the city.
“I’m also a fan and want to see football in LA,” Garcetti said. “We’ve now brought negotiations between LA and the NFL further along than ever before, and combined with AEG’s experience transforming downtown with Staples Center, I support continuing the momentum with them.”
The city, preparing a backup plan, has asked architectural firms to submit plans for a modern convention center and suggestions for where a 1,000-room hotel could be built.
AEG said it would continue to pursue an NFL team while also working toward the goal of rebuilding the convention center if that doesn’t work out.
It committed spending on $600,000 over the next six months on an alternative convention center design plan and the possibility of 750-room hotel. It also offered to reimburse the city $150,000 to review alternative designs.
“We share the city’s vision for an improved convention center with additional hotel rooms nearby, and we do not want to delay the pursuit of those objectives,” Beckerman said.
AEG owns the nearby Staples Center, where the Lakers, Clippers and Kings play, as well as the Nokia Theatre, which hosts several awards shows.
In September 2013, a resolution urging the NFL to bring back at least one or possibly two teams to Los Angeles had been backed by the Los Angeles City Council’s Economic Development Committee.
Among the names of franchises rumored to be or have been in the discussion include the Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers, St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders.
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