AEG Alone in L.A. Live

Anschutz Entertainment Group will build the L.A. Live project alone, now that partner KB Home has backed out of the project.

AEG bought KB Home’s stake in the estimated $750 million project, the companies announced December 15th. KB Home cited a slowdown in the housing market as reason for its withdrawal. The development company owned by billionaire Eli Broad is the fifth-largest builder in California by revenue, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The 2 million-square-foot project is well into construction with a final phase completion date in 2010.

“Our commitment to the development of L.A. Live has never been stronger or more focused,” AEG President Tim Leiweke told the Times.

City officials anticipate the project will revive the city’s downtown area. It is expected to include a 124-room Ritz Carlton, which would be the first five-star hotel downtown, the paper said. A 876-room JW Marriott is also part of the mix.

The first phase of the project, located next to the Staples Center, is expected to be finished next year and will include the 7,100-capacity Nokia Theatre Los Angeles.

“At this stage, it’s best for AEG to just move ahead,” Jack Kyser, chief economist with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., told the paper. “They have ambitious plans for the whole L.A. Live project, so they have to go for it.”

KB Home is in the midst of a stock option scandal, prompting CEO Bruce Karatz to resign in November. The resignation delayed the filing of financial reports, which triggered notices of default on some of its corporate debt, the Times said. The company will reportedly have to restate more than two years’ worth of results.