On Tuesday, team and elected officials publicly made the case for state legislation concerning a proposed Los Angeles Clippers Inglewood arena.
The Clippers continue to pursue a new arena in Inglewood as part of a larger development. In a concept that was unveiled earlier this year, an 18,000-seat arena would be located at the intersection of South Prairie Avenue and West Century. It would anchor a development that includes a practice facility, outdoor plaza, retail space, team offices, a sports medicine center, and perhaps other features.
Last week, California assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove introduced legislation that, according to the Los Angeles Times, would grant “shortcuts for approval should the arena proposal face challenges under California’s primary environmental law governing development.” A similar proposal was introduced last year and never gathered momentum, but the Clippers and various elected officials publicly backed the most recent legislation at a press conference on Tuesday. Among those present was Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, who took the opportunity to emphasize the team’s interest in Inglewood. More from the Los Angeles Times:
The legislation, AB 987, will provide shortcuts for approval if the proposed project faces challenges under California’s primary environmental law governing development. A similar bill, SB 789, failed to gain traction last year.
The Clippers play at Staples Center, which is owned by AEG, and share the arena with the Lakers and Kings.
“This is not a complicated thing we’re talking about,” Ballmer said. “I want to build a house in Inglewood. It’s that simple. We don’t have our own house. We’d like to have our own house, right here, on this site.
“So I’m excited to get a little bit of the help we need to build our house here in Inglewood. And I’m very, very committed to that and very excited about that opportunity.”
Discussions of a new arena come as the Clippers draw to closer to the end of their current Staples Center lease, which runs through 2024. The location under consideration in Inglewood is near both the Forum and an under-construction NFL stadium that will open in 2020 for the Rams and the Chargers. Earlier this year, Madison Square Garden Co.–owner of the Forum–sued the City of Inglewood and a Clippers-controlled company, contending that Inglewood mayor James Butts knowingly deceived it into surrendering a lease on vacant city-owned land that is being considered for the Clippers arena project. Furthermore, the lawsuit contended that the proposal involving the Clippers violates MSG’s development agreement with the city.
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