Los Angeles is one step closer to boasting an NFL football stadium after a four-person ad hoc stadium committee voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a non-binding agreement between the city and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG).
A full city council vote on the financial framework is scheduled for Aug. 9.
The plan details how the $1.48 billion stadium and new convention hall downtown would be financed, with much of the financial burden falling on the private contractor.
AEG would pay for the football stadium and two new parking structures. The city will issue $275 million in tax-exempt bonds to pay for the convention center, which AEG will build.
''The draft agreement rightly shifts the majority of the financial risk to AEG and allows the city to fully leverage this opportunity to modernize our convention center,'' said City Councilwoman Jan Perry, who chairs the committee.
Perry said the financing plan is structured to use about half of the new revenues generated by the project to repay the bonds. Those include rent to use the city's land under the stadium, property taxes paid by AEG, parking taxes, and a one-time construction tax.
Residents have shown up in droves at city council meetings and ad hoc committee open forums to express divided sentiments on the new downtown addition.
Voices in favor of the deal point to additional tax revenue and a boost to local business promised by the presence of NFL football in the city, but others are concerned that increased traffic from construction and events would only make matters worse for the already-snarled streets.
The committee’s approval could shift the discussion from financial matters to daily issues such as traffic, new advertising and finding an NFL team to call the stadium home, said Councilman Bill Rosendahl.
A consultant chose by the city and paid for by AEG predicted the project would generate $210 million in new revenue for the city’s general fund to pay for city services such as police, graffiti removal, pothole repair and tree trimming, Perry said.
Proponents, including the Valley Industy and Commerce Association (VICA), claim the project could bring conventions, which bring sleepy customers to local hotels downtown and in the San Fernando Valley, which has about 11,800 beds to offer.
Los Angeles falls short of the 5,000 hotel rooms needed within one-half mile of the convention center to make it competitive with top convention centers in the country. The city has 1,700 rooms within that range, Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Mark Liberman told the committee.
About a dozen people from the public spoke during the meeting Wednesday, including a number of people representing labor unions that want to see the project create thousands of construction jobs.
Officials told the committee the plan would create more than 6,000 permanent jobs.
More than half would be in the service industry, including bars and restaurants. Another 385 advertising and 259 transit and ground transportation jobs would be permanent, according to the city's consultant hired to analyze the economic impacts of the proposal.