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Clippers Are Making Move to the Westside

Times Staff Writer

Andy Roeser, an executive vice president with the Clippers, couldn’t stop gushing.

“We found the perfect place,” Roeser said in describing the new training facility and business offices the team plans to build in the Playa Vista development.

Roeser and Playa Vista President Steve Soboroff were at Staples Center on Thursday to announce that the Clippers had purchased the two acres of land on which to build a 35,000-square-foot training center.

The construction cost is $20 million and will be funded by team owner Donald Sterling. Along with two full basketball courts, the project will include team offices, a weight room, a players’ lounge, locker rooms and video production center.

Just as important, it is a place the Clippers can call their own. Previous practice locations have been at Los Angeles Southwest College and a health club in El Segundo.

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“Of course it will help us [attract free agents],” Roeser said. “And it will help us better train and prepare the players we have.

“We looked at other projects. We looked at developing a training center where we would share it with others. But ultimately we thought the advantages of having exclusively for our own use outweighed that.”

The facility is to be built between Centinela Avenue and Bluff Creek Drive, between Jefferson and Sepulveda boulevards, close to the San Diego and Marina freeways.

Nine Clipper players live within 10 minutes of the site.

“It was one of the things we talked about when I signed on with the team.” Clipper Coach Mike Dunleavy said. “Mr. Sterling promised me he was going to deliver a state-of-the-art practice facility, and everything he’s promised since I’ve come here has come through.”

Soboroff brought the site to Roeser’s attention last summer. It’s part of 120 acres of undeveloped land. Roeser showed Sterling the site, and eventually an agreement was reached.

Dunleavy said the center has the same architect as the Portland Trail Blazers’ facility, recognized as one of the league’s best.

“We tweaked it to be better,” he said. “After you live in a place for a while, you kind of know what you’d change, so we’ve done that.”

Roeser said the center is scheduled to open Sept. 1, 2006. He said while its use is primarily for the players and employees, “we are open” to providing some other community use during the NBA off-season.

Times staff writer Jerry Crowe contributed to this report.


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