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Environmental Review Cleared for $1.1B CA Arena

Thursday, August 6, 2020

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Late last month one of the last major hurdles was cleared for the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Clippers and the team’s proposed new $1.1B arena, slated for Inglewood, California.

City council reportedly unanimously approved the environmental impact report, nearly seven months after it was filed. Several lawsuits against the project have also recently been dropped.

About the Project

First announced in February 2019, the NBA team put out the call for three contractors to build the new privately funded arena and mixed-use project. However, responses to the new development weren’t all welcoming.

In fact, a lawsuit was filed by Madison Square Garden Entertainment—who owns the nearby Forum venue—claiming that if the Clippers built an arena, it would violate a development agreement with the city. As a response, the Clippers filed a countersuit asking the court to validate its negotiating agreement with Inglewood, which refers to a $1.5 million three-year understanding with the city for the exploration of 46 acres of land. According to reports, about 27 acres would be returned to the city.

Los Angeles Clippers

Late last month one of the last major hurdles was cleared for the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Clippers and the team’s proposed new $1.1B arena, slated for Inglewood, California.

The project was also sued by the Uplight Inglewood Coalition on allegations that the deal violated California state law—more specifically, the California Surplus Land Act, which requires that public land be prioritized for affordable housing developments.

Despite the backlash, Clippers chairman Steve Ballmer announced last August that the city would be moving forward with the 900,000-square-foot NBA arena. During construction the project is estimated to create 10,000 jobs and more than 1,500 permanent jobs once completed. Local hire components for the work are expected to make up 30% of the construction jobs available, while 35% of available arena jobs will also be filled by local residents.

While the arena’s design has been created and revealed by AECOM, Anderson Baker Architects and City Design Studios of Los Angeles are reported to be designing the plaza buildings. Hood Studios of California will be providing the landscape architecture.

After completion the complex is expected to generate roughly $286 million in annual economic activity in addition to $190 million in new tax revenue from 2020-45. The revenue is slated to help support various city services such as schools, libraries and parks, as well as police and fire stations.

About the Design

Inspired by a basketball net, the new arena will feature a three-dimensional oval-shape covered in a mixture of diamond-shaped solar panel tiles and metal cladding system. The system was chosen to contribute to the arena’s LEED Gold certification and status as a net-zero emitter of greenhouse gases. Plans to achieve this status also include a combination of carbon offset credits and sustainable design features.

According to the Clippers’ website, the arena will house up to 18,500 seats and include what are being called “sky gardens,” which are indoor/outdoor food and drink areas, available from every concourse.

Separate from the arena itself, but located on the 26 acres allocated for the project, will be an additional multi-purpose plaza, which is slated to be home to the team’s headquarters, a training facility, sports medicine clinic, concert stage, an outdoor game-viewing area complete with a supersized LED screen, community basketball courts, parks, educational facilities, restaurants and various retail spaces.

What Now

The council agreed with the report, which found that the 28-acre site would bring traffic and jobs to the neighborhood, but not contribute to gentrification of the surrounding areas.

The approval is the latest milestone for the project, coming off the heels of a May victory, when Ballmer purchased the Forum from Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. for $400 million.

As part of that deal, MSG agreed to end its legal battles with the proposed arena. According to the Los Angeles Times, the day after the deal closed, five lawsuits against the project were dismissed.

The last of the obstacles lies in purchasing the last of the land, as a handful of parcels are still owned by private individuals.

Murphy’s Bowl LLC, the Clippers-controlled company that is financing the project, is aiming to begin construction in the middle of next year, and open the arena in time for the 2024-25 NBA season. The Clippers’ lease at the Staples Center ends in 2024.


Tagged categories: Commercial Construction; Environmental Control; Good Technical Practice; NA; North America; Stadiums/Sports Facilities; Upcoming projects

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