Culver City Observer -

The Rams' New Stadium: A Lot More Than Football - Part 2

Stadium, jobs, revenue, security...


August 4, 2016

Fred Altieri

Future Inglewood stadium site

In less than five years the City of Inglewood has gone from the brink of bankruptcy to becoming the site of the 2021 Super Bowl. In November 2014 Mayor James Butts was re-elected with 83% of the vote, the largest percentage of victory ever in the city's history.

With significant citizen support, Butts and the current city council members: George Dotson – District 1; Alex Padilla – District 2; Eloy Morales, Jr. – District 3 and Ralph L. Franklin – District 4, worked on the city's financial issues and infrastructure problems that placed Inglewood in a prime position that landed the Los Angeles Rams franchise.

In February 2015 the city council approved a proposal to build an NFL stadium.

"The initiative that was filed so that we could fast-track the entitlement. We got 21,000 signatures in less than 30 days. The council voted to adopt that initiative and entitle it 5-0. The residents have great confidence in the city council and myself. We have a great city council. We're a team.

"The city embraces and is unified in its vision to become not only a destination city but to regain and surpass the prestige that we had when we were the home of the Lakers and the Kings. And we have succeeded in that quest.

"It would make logical sense that if you were going to pick a place to enter a market that you've been gone from for over two decades in one of the biggest sports of the country, I think it would matter that the city had a pedigree of hosting professional sports."

The City of Champions Stadium, the temporarily named Inglewood sports and entertainment construction site at the former and now demolished Hollywood Park Racetrack, will be the Rams permanent home beginning with the 2019 NFL season, a state-of-the-art complex that promises to be spectacular.

At 3,000,000 square feet it'll be the largest arena in the world. The plan is to have 800,000 square feet of fine dining and retail, 780,000 square feet of grade A office space, a 350 room hotel, a movie theater, four public parks covering 26 acres, a lake, 2,000 residential units and a 6,000 seat performing arts center.

Butts: "Technology-wise it's going to have so many bells and whistles that it's mind-blowing. It's going to be an experience just to come into the stands with no game going and see all of the things that are going on visually in that stadium."

There are about 3,700 cities and counties in the United States of America. There are 32 professional football teams. One of them is definitely in Inglewood and likely in the next 18 months there will be a second one. So there could possibly be two out of the 32 professional football teams in the City of Inglewood, a city of 115,000 people."

The project will create 40.000 construction jobs in a seven to ten year build-out, all of those paying prevailing wages, a minimum of $27 an hour. The project when it's finished is expected generate 12,000 full and part-time jobs.

"The office space will house tech companies, career oriented businesses so that there are places that our children who go away to college can come back here and work in the City of Inglewood, make good money and raise their families. There is all this employment opportunity for entry-level, journeyman and career workers that never existed before.

"In all of our development agreements we have a 35% local hire goal. We had that in the Forum development agreement and we exceeded that goal. We made it to 40% local hire. We've been very successful.

"The Forum put aside $250,000 for local training. So you do things to optimize residents' chances of securing jobs here. We were wildly successful with The Forum. I believe we will be wildly successful with this project."

Butts continued: "Let's talk about what will it generate for the City in terms of sales taxes. The estimates and projections are that this will generate between 18 to 42 million dollars in the first five years per year depending on how fast the pace of the development goes.

"But that's only for this development. That's only that 300 acres. Think about all the ancillary development that will occur down Prairie, down Century, down Manchester because this will be an economic corridor. And they will generate their set of sales taxes.

"So what does that mean for the residents? That means other people pay for their police services. Other people pay to get their roadways resurfaced faster than they ordinarily would have. Other people pay to improve the library and park systems. So this is an extreme benefit for the residents of Inglewood."

Mayor Butts has an MBA from Cal Poly Pomona and has served 37 years in public safety. He was an Inglewood policeman for 19 years and attained the rank of Deputy Police Chief before notably serving the City of Santa Monica as Chief of Police beginning in 1991 for 15 years.

In 2006 he was hired to be in charge of Homeland Security and Public Safety as an assistant general manager in the Los Angeles Airport system for five years before officially becoming Mayor of Inglewood in January 2011. Security is a top priority for the city.

"My background has been of immeasurable value to me in being the mayor. All those experiences allow me to be a great partner with the Chief of Police, Mark Fronterotta, as we do our security planning here. In fact, I was his first sergeant when I was with the police department," said Butts.

"We have about 115,000 citizens and 200 police officers. How do we police the venue? Whenever you have an event of that size you're going to have to contract out with other agencies. We will contract with the Sheriff's Department to supplement our staffing. We just haven't picked who our vendors will be.

"My connections with L.A. International and the intelligence community, between the two of us, give us a lot of resources and first-name contact to secure the information, to secure our planning partners so that we can do the most effective planning to make this the most secure football stadium in the country.

"We have to insure that the performers, the athletes are secure coming and going from the venue, that they are secure on the playing field whether it's a basketball court, hockey rink or football field.

"We have to insure that not only are our patrons are safe once they enter the city and arrive but they're safe while they're at the game and safe when they leave. So you construct your security planning to accomplish all those objectives.

Forum's Pincay exit looking towards future stadium site

"The 1984 Olympics basketball venue was here. The Showtime Lakers were here. The Kings were here. Thoroughbred racing was here. We flowed that kind of traffic for five decades. So I believe that would have an impact on them believing: "Well, they can handle the crowds because they've done it before.

"We've been successful at doing that for decades. There's never been anyone seriously injured going to or coming from a Laker game, going from or coming to a Kings game, going to or coming from the racetrack when it used to draw about 38,000-41,000 during the week. We have an excellent safety record here."

Next: the conclusion – education, partnerships, traffic and self-esteem...


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