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LA Clippers Arena Trial Wraps Up

New L.A. Clippers arena

The trial in a lawsuit from the Uplift Inglewood Coalition over a proposed LA Clippers arena concluded Tuesday, with a judge expected to issue a ruling by Monday.

In a claim filed in June 2018, the Uplift Inglewood Coalition alleged that the Surplus Land Act was violated when Inglewood officials entered into an exclusive 36-month negotiating period with Clippers-controlled entity Murphy’s Bowl, LLC in the summer of 2017 over an arena project on a city-owned site. A state law, the Surplus Land Act stipulates that public bodies must grant first priority to affordable housing development when selling public land.

Through the lawsuit, the community group is seeking to have the contract between the city and the Clippers voided, with the institution of a 60-day bidding period allowing for other parties to bid on the land for affordable housing or uses such as park space. Representatives of the Uplift Inglewood Coalition argued that the city failed to give first priority to affordable housing. However, attorneys for the Clippers contended that the site in question does not qualify as surplus land. It is now left to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel Murphy to issue a ruling in the case. More from Curbed LA:

“Complying with the Surplus Land Act does not mean that they will never be able to do any economic development project that they want to do in the future,” Katherine McKeon, an attorney representing Uplift Inglewood, says. “It just means they have to give priority to affordable housing first.”

But John Spiegel, a partner with the firm Munger, Tolles and Olson, representing the Clippers, said during the hearing that the property does not qualify as surplus land….

In an August letter to Inglewood Mayor James Butts, the Federal Aviation Administration said it “does not support the reintroduction of single-family or multi-family residential uses” on the site, which the city acquired with FAA grant money.

“Such residential redevelopment would increase residents’ exposure to aircraft noise, and is inherently inconsistent with the intent of the city’s land acquisition noise mitigation program, approved and funded by the FAA,” the letter says.

The possibility of a new NBA arena has also prompted lawsuits from Madison Square Garden Co.–owner of Inglewood’s Forum, a venue located less than a mile from the site targeted for the Clippers’ project–that seeks to prevent the proposal from moving forward.

The Clippers are pitching a privately financed 18,500-seat arena in Inglewood that would be completed by the 2024-25 NBA season. The venue would anchor The Inglewood Basketball & Entertainment Center, a 26-acre project located on West Century Boulevard between South Prairie Avenue and South Yukon Avenue that would also include the team’s business and basketball offices, training facility, community and retail spaces. Detailed plans on the proposal, including renderings of the arena and surrounding area, were released in July.

Rendering courtesy L.A. Clippers.

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