Gov. Gavin Newsom has approved fast-tracking the billion-dollar arena complex the Clippers want to build in Inglewood, as plans for the project continue to advance.
Newsom certified the project Friday under legislation passed last year to shield the project from extended environmental litigation.
The decision, which sets a nine-month window for lawsuits and appeals over the project’s environmental impact to be resolved, came after the California Air Resources Board found the project would be net carbon neutral.
The state’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee has 30 days to approve Newsom’s certification. If that happens, the environmental impact report will be released.
“Receiving the state’s certification is just more evidence that this project will be by far one of the most environmentally friendly and energy efficient sports venues in the country,” said Chris Meany, the developer and project manager for the arena.
The complex would be centered on a sail-shaped arena that seats 18,000 people near the intersection of West Century Boulevard and South Prairie Avenue in addition to a practice facility, sports medicine clinic, team offices, retail space and a hotel.
The Madison Square Garden Co., which owns the Forum less than two miles away, called the arena plan “deeply flawed” and pledged to continue its fight against the project.
“The truth remains that the arena would overwhelm Inglewood with four million more cars per year and thousands of tons of harmful air pollution,” the company said in a statement.
A spokesman for Newsom didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
After 11 months of negotiations, the Clippers and CARB agreed this month to a package that includes the organization providing 1,000 electric car chargers for residences in the area, planting 1,000 trees and instituting a program to reduce event-related trips to the arena by 15%.
Several environmental and community groups and residents submitted letters opposing the project being fast-tracked.
The Clippers hope to start arena construction by July 2021 and complete it in time for the 2024-25 season.
MSG sued Inglewood over the project, which would be built on vacant land owned by the city, last year. The Clippers-controlled company backing the arena, Murphy’s Bowl LLC, later countersued MSG. The trial date has been repeatedly postponed, but a new date could be set during a hearing next month.
Times staff writer Taryn Luna contributed to this report.