L.A. council panel moves forward with Convention Center backup plan

The L.A. City Council is moving ahead with an alternative plan for the Convention Center. Above, the center's West Hall.
(Gary Friedman)

A Los Angeles City Council panel voted Tuesday to move ahead with a backup plan for modernizing the city’s Convention Center, one that assumes that an NFL football stadium won’t be built nearby.

The council’s Economic Development Committee recommended the city kick off a seven-month competition, with architects and designers offering their ideas for expanding and upgrading the convention venue. Participants also would be asked to identify spots next to the facility where a new, privately developed hotel could be built.

L.A. officials still have a deal with developer Anschutz Entertainment Group to build an NFL stadium next to the Convention Center. That agreement would allow some stadium revenue to pay for construction of a new Convention Center wing.

The pact cannot move ahead unless AEG secures a team. With the deal set to expire in October and little sign of any progress, hopes of building a stadium have greatly diminished.


AEG officials are “continuing to have discussions with the NFL,” Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller told lawmakers. “But a lot of progress is not being made.”

The Convention Center backup plan, frequently referred to as Plan B, envisions the construction of around 300,000 square feet of new exhibition space and 75,000 square feet of additional meeting room space, officials said Tuesday.

Under the timeline backed by the committee, the city would eventually narrow the competition to the top three design teams, giving each $200,000 to prepare models, plans and other documents. The winning team would be selected in early January.

City officials would have the ability to cancel the competition at any time should the NFL decide to relocate a team to Los Angeles, according to a report prepared for council members.

The Plan B design competition process is set to receive a full council vote on June 4 and has the backing of Mayor Eric Garcetti. “It’s time to modernize our Convention Center so our city attracts the nation’s largest conventions and the economic benefits they provide,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.