A newly unveiled proposal for an NFL-ready stadium in Inglewood could be put to voters as soon as June, and if they approve, construction could begin next year for a 2018 opening, according to the team of developers that includes St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke.
It's the latest in a series of proposals over the past two decades to bring NFL football back to the Metropolitan Los Angeles area, which lost both the Rams and the Raiders at the end of the 1994 season.
What sets the Inglewood stadium plan apart is having an owner of an existing team already on board, though that is not a guarantee the National Football League would permit the Rams to move. League rules require 24 owners approve a team relocation.
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The 298-acre mixed-use development, dubbed "City of Champions Revitalization Project" by backers, would include a 300-room hotel, a 6,000-seat performance venue and more than 1.5 million square feet of retail, office and residential space, according to a press release. A rendering shows an outdoor watering pool, gathering space and a water fountain like Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park.
Kroenke bought the 60-acre parking lot in Inglewood between two former sports venues: the Forum, home to a Lakers dynasty, and Hollywood Park race track one year ago, prompting speculation that Kroenke wanted to bring the Rams to Los Angeles. On Monday, his company The Kroenke Group and the real estate investment management firm Stockbridge Capital Group announced the plans to develop the space under the flag of a joint venure called Hollywood Park Land Company.
"After nearly a decade of collaborating with Inglewood city leaders and residents on the redevelopment of Hollywood Park, we are excited to unveil an expanded plan that will bring a world-class sports and entertainment district to Hollywood Park," Terry Fancher, founder of Stockbridge, said in a statement. "We are committed to working with TKG to build a project that will put Inglewood back on the map as the home of truly great sports and entertainment venues."
Supporters, who say no public funding will be used for construction, plan to gather signatures for a 2015 local ballot measure related to the project. It could to voters as soon as June.
The stadium is being inserted into a redevelopment project just getting underway, because as Inglewood Mayor James Butts put it, "it will avoid a lot of review."
"We know that we can flow the traffic and so another endless round of reviews does not bode well for the city,” the mayor said.
Kroenke also owns the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and a majority stake in English soccer team Arsenal. He is considered one of three top suitors for an NFL team in Los Angeles, along with the owners of the Raiders and Chargers.
"It'd be great. Give us some jobs, entertainment, all that good stuff," said football fan Robert Tate, of the reported plan. "Hopefully I'll get another job."
The NFL has ruled out any team move for the 2015 season, but leaves open the possibility in 2016.
Inglewood isn't the only location where one of those teams could land. City officials extended an option with the owners of Staples Center to build an 80,000-seat stadium to be known as Farmers Field downtown, next to the 10- and 110-freeway junction, provided a team commits to moving there.
"We remain confident in the advantages of our project over any of the other sites," reads in part a statement issued by AEG.
The Rose Bowl and LA Memorial Coliseum could also host a team, at least temporarily, and developers have proposed other locations for a new team.
"While our focus is on the downtown proposal, we would welcome a team anywhere in the LA region that delivers the greatest benefit to our fans, city and economy. This new proposal is in its very early stages and we will monitor its progress. My office along with our advisor Michael Eisner continue to be in close contact with the NFL," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement.
NBC4's Patrick Healy contributed to this report.