One of the things I like about Staples Center is the view of downtown's city lights you see when you burst out the doors into the night after a game. That view, and the open parking lot on Figueroa that allows it, will go away when Phil Anschutz finishes his hotel and entertainment complex around the arena. There's still a niggling question of how much money the city has to pony up to persuade Anschutz to go ahead with the project he dearly wants to build, but the parties will gather at 2 p.m. today to talk nice and announce that work on the first stage will finally begin after much delay. Times story, Daily News story.
* Update: OK, I've now seen the maps, and the 55-story hotel won't block the view of downtown. Phew. At today's confab, it was confirmed that Nokia's name will be all over the new L.A. Live (yes, that's what they're calling it) entertainment complex around the hotel. Local talk show icon Michael Jackson claimed he will be back on radio in about two weeks, but wouldn't divulge details. And somebody's advance person is getting a raise: for the ceremonies on the Staples Center terrace, mayor James K. Hahn sat comfortably in the shade, while councilman Bernard Parks baked in the sun and finally just left. 4:15 p.m.