With the clock running out on a proposal to build a pro football stadium in downtown Los Angeles, developer Anschutz Entertainment Group has appealed to the city for extra time.
Citing progress in talks with the National Football League, AEG asked city officials Monday for an additional six months to land an NFL franchise and get underway building "Farmers Field" stadium while making improvements to the aging Los Angeles Convention Center.
The request will test city officials' recently stated resolve to stop pining for an NFL franchise to come downtown and get to work on a "Plan B" for the convention center that doesn't include a stadium. That plan calls for modernizing the convention center while possibly adding a big 1,000-room hotel to help serve it.
Under a 2012 agreement, AEG has until Oct. 17 to sign a team. It is then to demolish the obsolete West Hall of the convention center and replace it with a stadium. It must also build a new $287-million convention center wing to be paid for with stadium proceeds.
Eric Grubman, an NFL executive vice president whose responsibilities include working on the return of a team to L.A., said the league supports AEG's request for more time.
"The discussions are very preliminary, but we are encouraged enough by recent progress that we share AEG's view that continued conversations would be worthwhile," Grubman told The Times in a written statement Monday.
Both Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council President Herb Wesson signaled they are willing to give AEG the extra time it is seeking.
"We've now brought negotiations between L.A. and the NFL further along than ever before, and combined with AEG's experience transforming Downtown with Staples Center, I support continuing the momentum with them," Garcetti said in a statement.
Councilman Curren Price, whose district includes the stadium site, said the city needs to keep its options open when dealing with the convention center project.
"I support an extension for AEG at this time because it would help Los Angeles make a better case for landing a team, ultimately allowing our city to score the 'touchdown' -- with or without a team," he said.
Many NFL insiders believe the L.A. site with the most momentum is the 60-acre parcel purchased in December by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke near Hollywood Park and the Forum.