Farmers Field: LA Neighbors United Takes Out Full-Page 'Times' Ad to Question Wisdom of Downtown L.A. NFL Stadium Plans
A full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday asks why City Hall should support a proposed downtown NFL stadium at a time when so many of L.A.'s services have been cut because of a lack of cash.
The venue, proposed by the owners of Staples Center, would put a $1 billion-plus "Farmers Field" stadium at the city-owned Convention Center. Anschutz Entertainment Group has promised that no public money would be used.
Here's what the ad by LA Neighbors United states:
While the Mayor pitches a new stadium, our beloved city continues to decline ... Make no mistake, when a private developer wants to invest more than a billion dollars in our city, it's a good day for Los Angeles. A compact, environmentally friendly stadium downtown has the potential to be a great community benefit for the people of LA. But will it be a boon or a boondoggle? It's still not clear ...
-Where is objective evidence that there's demand for the new event center and convention hall, beyond a salesman's assertion that if we build it, they will come?
-If demand for the new facilities is so certain, why isn't the developer offering to own, operate and privately finance the whole complex?
-How much will the developer be paid to construct the new convention hall and parking
-Who will pay the tab in the years when the new convention hall runs an operating deficit? If the team leaves town before the bonds are retired?
(Another question: Why are we giving LA Neighbors United a free ad when it just paid five figures to take out a full page in the Times' A section? Dunno. We kid).
AEG chief Tim Leiweke has said that although the projected would need $350 million in public bonds all of it would paid back through revenues generated at the venue and that the company would pay up if that income didn't cover the costs.
The company would need to tear down the old West Hall at the Convention Center and has planned to build new convention space as part of the deal.
We have a call into AEG for its reaction to this.
Update: AEG responds:
We continue to be in favor of a transparent process to develop the Entertainment Center and strongly believe that the people of Los Angeles have the right to know the details of our proposal. It remains our desire that there be a comprehensive and thorough review of all aspects of our plan.
We are confident that at the end of this process, the city and its stakeholders will discover that there are no hidden secrets or agendas and we continue to stand behind our commitment of developing an Event Center and Stadium at no cost and no risk to the tax payers.
First posted at 4:06 p.m.