With the chances of Los Angeles attracting an NFL team remaining slim, a City Council committee and the mayor today voiced support for a plan to revamp the Convention Center without a football stadium.
The venue was slated for an upgrade under a 2012 deal the city inked with developer AEG, which planned to build a stadium next to the convention center in downtown Los Angeles. The agreement, which expires in October, hinges on the city attracting a National Football League team.
The developer recently informed city officials that talks with the league have yielded little progress, Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller told the council's Economic Development Committee.
"Not that football is dead," but AEG executives realize that it is in the city's "collective interest" to move on with its own plans to improve the convention facilities, Miller said.
Projects are underway to expand convention centers in Anaheim, San Diego and San Francisco, legislative analyst John Wikham told committee members.
"We're really at the point where our competitive business on the West Coast is putting the pressure on Los Angeles to make some decisions," Wikham said.
The alternate plan, known as "Plan B," calls for adding about 300,000 square feet of space to connect the South Hall to the West Hall and adding at least 75,000 square feet of meeting room space, which would allow the venue to compete for larger events, such as medical conferences, Wikham said.
The convention center's outdoor appearance would also get a facelift, he said.
The committee adopted city staff's recommendation to begin inviting architectural firms to take part in a design competition. Three finalist firms would be selected by August to submit designs for the convention venue, with each firm given $200,000 to develop and present their proposals.
Mayor Eric Garcetti supports the shift to the back-up concept. He issued a statement today saying that "it's time to modernize our Convention Center so our city attracts the nation's largest conventions and the economic benefits they provide."
--City News Service