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Answers about a downtown NFL stadium amount to: Stay tuned

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl received some answers to his questions about plans to build a downtown football stadium and the effect it would have on the nearby Convention Center.

But many of those answers, provided by the city’s top two policy analysts in a 13-page letter, boil down to two words: Stay tuned.

Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller and City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana told Rosendahl that many of the questions — sent by the councilman in three separate letters — cannot be answered until negotiations on the $1-billion stadium are completed.

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Rosendahl posted the letter on his Facebook page.

Rosendahl had asked how long it would take to build the stadium and the planned $350-million reconstruction of one wing of the Convention Center. (The two projects are linked.) Miller and Santana said the timeline will be determined during negotiations with Anschutz Entertainment Group, the stadium developer.

Rosendahl also asked about the possibility that longstanding Convention Center clients might flee during construction and refuse to come back in future years. Miller and Santana said they would have a report on that issue at the conclusion of negotiations.

Then there was this question: How much money could the Convention Center lose during construction, and who would make up the losses? Those issues, Rosendahl was told, would be discussed at the end of the talks.

Rosendahl, who represents a coastal district stretching from Westchester to Pacific Palisades, said he was neither surprised nor disappointed by the limited answers he received. He said the exchange shows how transparent the discussion will be in coming weeks.

“I’m just happy that I got answers to the questions, be they answers or non-answer answers,” he said.

AEG Chief Executive Tim Leiweke has set a July 31 deadline for city officials to have the framework for a deal. Santana said he was “optimistic” that the city would reach an agreement by Leiweke’s deadline.

Santana and Miller did use the letter to restate some of the positions already adopted by the city’s ad hoc stadium committee.

For example, the panel is also looking for “substantial private funding” to cover the cost of the new Convention Center wing, the letter said.

Miller and Santana also pointed out that although city officials do not want public money financing a football stadium, they made no such assertion regarding the Convention Center project.

But answers to many of the questions will not come until the talks conclude.

Those include: Will the project really create 18,000 jobs?

What other convention centers have stadiums attached?

How can the city make sure a football team won’t flee to another stadium?

How would an admissions fee, a key element for financing the stadium, work?

In other words, stay tuned.

david.zahniser@latimes.com


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