By Sandy Mazza, Daily Breeze
Posted: 01/12/16, 8:49 PM PST | Updated: 5 hrs ago
The proposed site in Carson to build an NFL stadium may be used for other commercial purposes now that NFL owners have voted in favor of Inglewood’s proposal. File photo. (Chuck Bennett / Staff Photographer)
Carson officials did everything they could to woo the NFL and, in the end, they accepted defeat graciously, while saying they’ll still be available if things go south with the winning stadium bid.
Mayor Al Robles thanked the National Football League for consideration of its proposed stadium along the 405 Freeway after league owners gave the nod to St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s plan to build a roughly $2 billion sports and entertainment complex in Inglewood.
“This NFL bidding process has put Carson on the map as a city that has the wherewithal to compete in the big leagues for development opportunities,” Robles said in a written statement. “We wish Inglewood and our former partners, the Chargers and the Raiders, the best of luck.”
The 157-acre former landfill that the city hoped would be a new home for the Chargers and Raiders now will likely be sold to a commercial developer. Negotiations will begin immediately with “one of the nation’s largest commercial developers,” Robles said.
But, if the Federal Aviation Administration’s concerns with the Inglewood stadium site and design aren’t assuaged, Robles said, Carson will be happily waiting in the wings.
The former Hollywood Park racetrack site that will house the Rams and, possibly, the Chargers is directly under the flight path to Los Angeles International Airport. The FAA in November ordered Kroenke to redesign the stadium because his original plan would have disrupted air traffic communication. A new design has not yet been approved, but Inglewood officials said it can be fixed by changing the stadium’s outer covering to non-reflective material.
“If the National Football League must revisit this issue, Carson stands ready,” he said. “Our site will be exclusively available as a stadium site until at least April, when our current agreement with the Chargers and Raiders expires.”
For Carson, Tuesday’s decision was the latest letdown in its decades-long bid to attract an NFL stadium since the Rams departed for St. Louis in 1994.
The city was seriously considered in the late 1990s and again in 2005 for an NFL stadium, but other proposals in downtown Los Angeles and the City of Industry won out. Still, Carson held out hope and even backed unlikely negotiations that surfaced in 2012.
In February, Carson announced its strongest pitch yet when it partnered with the Chargers and Raiders on a $1.7 billion stadium proposal. The teams promised to pay for all construction and development, and brought Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in as a financier. Carson assisted with public relations work and cleared the way of bureaucratic impediments.
Carson2gether, a consortium of team representatives and residents, worked to get about 15,000 signatures to circumvent a state-mandated environmental review process of the stadium designs in March. Inglewood followed the same process in February to fast-track construction there.
In August, the city named a street that will wind through the completed development Stadium Way. In November, it released a shuttle-bus plan to move stadium-goers in and out of the site.
Now, Robles said they are looking forward to planning a new project there.
“After April, for the first time ever, the city will be in complete control of the destiny of shovel ready, hugely valuable, strategically located property,” Robles said. “We are excited about this new opportunity.”