Clippers given final approval to buy land needed for arena in Inglewood
Construction of a proposed Clippers arena in Inglewood moved closer to reality Tuesday after Inglewood’s City Council unanimously approved the sale of 13 parcels of publicly owned land to the developers of the proposed arena.
Murphy’s Bowl LLC, the Clippers-controlled company leading the development, said the $66.25 million it is paying for the land will be shared among the city, the Federal Aviation Administration, Los Angeles World Airports and other local entities such as the Inglewood Unified School District. Twenty-two of the 28 acres within the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Complex’s proposed footprint were owned by the city.
The budget for the arena complex is $1.8 billion, according to a disposition and development agreement prepared by the city for Tuesday’s vote. It will be privately financed, primarily by Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, the wealthiest owner of a professional sports franchise in North America.
Backers of the complex, which is to include an 18,000-seat arena as well as team offices, a practice facility and spaces for public use, plan to begin construction by the middle of 2021 in order to open on time for the 2024-25 NBA season.
The Clippers hailed what they called the arena’s final approval while announcing the creation of a wait list for future season tickets.
“Today is a new chapter for the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center, as we move from the land use entitlement process and look toward construction,” said Gillian Zucker, the Clippers’ president of business operations, in a statement. “Every part of IBEC is being designed with purpose — with an unapologetic intensity that will define the experience together for players, musical talent and fans alike.”
Attorneys filed papers Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court to dismiss five lawsuits filed or backed by the Madison Square Garden Co. that opposed the arena project.
The agreement between the city and Murphy’s Bowl also allows for the “potential acquisition of certain private properties not within its control.” In July, Murphy’s Bowl agreed to purchase privately owned land currently housing a Rodeway Inn & Suites in order to transform it into an entry plaza. It was one of a few privately owned parcels within the proposed arena site.
Before approving the proposal, the council heard from callers who criticized the development of the arena, which would be constructed across Prairie Avenue from SoFi Stadium, the new home of the NFL’s Rams and Chargers.
“We don’t need another stadium that is packing people in,” one caller said.
Councilman Alex Padilla later responded during his closing remarks that “we are becoming the Mecca of sports and entertainment.”
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