If Rams owner Stan Kroenke has his way, an NFL stadium will be built in Inglewood.
What would that mean for this L.A. County city, a mostly low-income area where the majority of residents are African American and Latino?
A billion dollars per year for the local economy plus 40,000 new jobs -- many of those in Inglewood -- are just two of the benefits, according to the text of a ballot initiative.
It could make Inglewood "a top-tier metropolis,” said Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. in a news conference Monday.
The measure was filed Friday, he said, and will require signatures from 15% of the city’s about 52,000 registered voters to get on the ballot. Butts said the soonest it could appear before voters would likely be June.
“You avoid a lot of review processes if the voters say, 'This is what we want,' ” said Butts, flanked by Inglewood City Council members.
Butts said the city was assembling a team of experts to analyze economic and environmental impacts of the stadium project, though he stressed that several review processes already were done.
Butts said he had not been contacted by the NFL since news of the proposal broke.
“Anybody that wants to come here, we’re a pretty good host, whether it's basketball, soccer, football,” he said. “We’re at the epicenter of four freeways, we’re a mile and a half from LA International Airport, we have ocean breezes, great climate – we’re a good place to be.”
St Louis is trying to retain its team, possibly with public funds.
Butts reiterated that the Inglewood proposal “doesn’t ask for, nor will ever be offered, any public funds.”
“We’re not trying to take anybody anywhere,” he said. “The reality of what’s going on is, you have a developer, Stan Kroenke, who is invested in Inglewood, and regardless, we’re glad to have him here.”
Asked why Kroenke would make such an investment if he did not plan to move his team, Butts replied: “That’s a really good question.”
According to the Los Angeles Times' Mapping L.A., Inglewood is a high-density city of more than 100,000 with a median household income of less than $50,000 -- low for L.A. County. The population is over 90% minority.
Butts stressed recent economic gains. More than 120 small businesses opened in Inglewood in 2014, he said, employing hundreds of residents -- some for the first time in years. A housing development is underway on a long-abandoned housing site, and proposals are being vetted by city staff for what he called “a major market street development.”
The recent reopening of a revitalized Forum in Inglewood -- which the Lakers and Kings called home for years -- pumped new jobs and taxes into the city as major music acts have continued to take advantage of what is now a pure concert venue.
Around the same time, officials broke ground on the $2.06-billion north-south Crenshaw Line, which is designed to run at ground level from 48th to 60th streets along Crenshaw Boulevard -- northeast of Inglewood in the city of Los Angeles.
Kroenke bought 60 acres adjacent to the Forum a year ago and has joined forces with the owners of the 238-acre Hollywood Park site, Stockbridge Capital Group. They plan to add an 80,000-seat NFL stadium and 6,000-seat performance venue to the already-massive development of retail, office, hotel and residential space, Stockbridge and the Kroenke Group told the Los Angeles Times.
The initiative promises about 25 acres of the project site will be dedicated to recreation and public open space. It calls the development “an unprecedented opportunity for jobs, economic growth and public benefits.”
On Friday, real estate blog Curbed LA named Inglewood its “Neighborhood of the Year” after several rounds of reader voting.
“For now, relatively low housing prices mean artists and other interesting people can still afford to live there. Rock on, Inglewood,” the blog said.
The stadium could be completed by 2018, developers said.
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