AEG, LA Nearing Stadium Deal?

The City of Los Angeles and Anschutz Entertainment Group appear to be tilting toward agreement on a Convention Center renovation and construction of Farmers Field, AEG’s proposed football stadium adjacent to Staples Center.

A major hurdle was jumped when AEG said it would cut the amount of municipal bonds it wants the city to issue from $350 million to “the high $200 millions,” CEO Tim Leiweke told a June 27 town hall gathering. AEG and L.A.’s Metrolink public transit company also announced a partnership to develop a transportation plan to mitigate traffic concerns.

The company presented a retooled proposal to the L.A. City Council June 30 that reduces the amount of bonds required to replace the Convention Center by paying for parking garage construction, a ground lease to the city and move revenue from advertising to pay debt service. AEG previously intended for the parking garage to be city property.

While AEG tweaks its pitch, sweetening the pot with the addition of a $50 million letter of credit and various quality and construction guarantees, it’s also beating the NFL bushes in search of a potential Farmers Field tenant.

Leiweke had already confirmed AEG has talked to team officials from San Diego, Oakland, St. Louis, Minnesota and Jacksonville about relocating. Any thoughts of an expansion team became roadkill in March when labor negotions between the NFL and its players’ union broke down, resulting in a lockout.

Other potential roadblocks remain. Still in play is Ed Roski’s Majestic Realty proposal for a City of Industry stadium. It’s expected Roski will attempt to sue AEG under the California Environmental Quality Act.

And Leiweke has given L.A. a July 31 deadline to approve AEG’s proposal, ostensibly to have it in the can before the city council breaks for summer recess – and in time to secure a tenant, negotiate television rights and get on the NFL schedule in time for the 2015 football season.