In the latest sweepstakes involving a possible return of professional football to Los Angeles, St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke said this week he plans to build a stadium at the old Hollywood Park site in Inglewood. The Rams once played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum from 1946-1979 before moving to Anaheim Stadium and then to St. Louis in 1994.
Kroenke has purchased 60 acres adjacent to the Fabulous Forum, joining forces with Stockbridge Financial Group, owners of the 238-acre Hollywood Park site which closed last year. They plan to add an 80,000-seat NFL stadium, and another 6,000-seat performance venue as part of the proposed development of retail, office, hotel and residential space.
The 20-year saga of NFL football in Los Angeles has included possible stadium sites in Irwindale, Carson, City of Industry, Downtown Los Angeles, Dodger Stadium and now Inglewood. In total, there have been more than a dozen stadium proposals—including renovation of the Coliseum—which have come and gone in an effort to return the NFL to the nation’s second-largest media market. Kroenke’s move, however, marks the first time an existing team owner has controlled a local site large enough for a stadium and parking. The Rams organization has officially declined any comment on a planned move.
Kroenke’s Inglewood plans may increase pressure on St. Louis to strike a deal for a new stadium; other teams reportedly interested in moving [back] to Los Angeles include the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers.
Developers have reportedly said that no tax dollars would be used for the construction project, including the stadium. Stockbridge Financial group this week said it would begin gathering signatures for an initiative that would place the entire project on the Inglewood municipal ballot this year. The combined Kroenke and Hollywood Park projects would be called the City of Champions Revitalization Project.
In addition to the ballot measure, the NFL owners would also need to approve a move.
Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. said this week he was “extremely supportive” of the ballot measure that would add the sports and entertainment complexes to the already-approved Hollywood Park development and, thereby, speed construction. The stadium could greet its first football fan by 2018.
“This will hasten the time for the citizens of Inglewood to get the project they deserve,” Butts said. “This is something they have waited for.”