INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — A development group that includes a company controlled by the owner of the St. Louis Rams announced plans Monday to build an 80,000-seat stadium in the Los Angeles suburbs that could become home for an NFL team.
The proposal that could see a stadium rise on the site of a former horse track again raised the hopes of fans that Los Angeles could end its two-decade drought without a football team. It becomes the latest of numerous NFL stadium plans in the Los Angeles area since the 1994 exit of the Rams and Raiders from Southern California.
The proposal stands out, however, because of the involvement of St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, whose company has entered a joint venture with Stockbridge Capital Group, which had been developing a 238-acre tract in Inglewood, on the edge of Los Angeles. Kroenke’s company owns an adjacent 60 acres, which would be added to the project, much of it for stadium parking.
“This is a perfect location for a venue like this,” said Christopher Meany, a senior executive with the developer Hollywood Park Land Co., alluding to its proximity to major freeways, Los Angeles International Airport and The Forum, the former home of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers. “I don’t know of a place that compares to this.”
Meany was cautious not to depict the stadium as a likely NFL venue, emphasizing that any decision on moving a team is “entirely in the hands of the NFL.” He repeatedly referred to the stadium as “multipurpose,” also capable of hosting soccer games.
The proposal was first reported Monday by the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1BA13Ye ).
The stadium, along with a 6,000-seat performance venue, would augment a massive retail, office and residential project being steered by Stockbridge.
The shell of the old racetrack would need to be leveled, and stadium construction would begin before late this year. However, its development would hinge on approval by local voters.
The plan adds pressure on the city of St. Louis to either strike a deal for a new stadium for the Rams, or watch the team return to Southern California, where it played from 1946 to 1994. The team is unhappy in the Edward Jones Dome, which is outdated by current NFL standards. St. Louis is expected to offer the team a new proposal by the end of the month.
The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders are also playing in old stadiums and are considered potential Los Angeles transplants.
The earliest any team could move would be 2016.