Stadium deal could be in trouble, but for the wrong reason

farmers4.jpgI'm not a huge fan of the proposed complex, but I'm not especially fond of extortion either - and that's the kinda, sorta threat that a downtown coalition is throwing around. The Los Angeles Community Action Network wants deep-pocket developer AEG to hand over $2 million a year for 30 years, roughly the life of the stadium. The money would be placed into a housing trust fund for the purpose of somehow mitigating any gentrification-related increase in rents near the stadium. Now, you can conjure up all sorts of reasons for opposing this project - L.A. doesn't need or want it, the city might end up footing part of the bill at a time when it can't afford a pair of shoelaces (even though everyone denies any financial exposure), AEG is a money-grubbing, take-no-prisoners organization that has way too much influence at City Hall. They're all fine reasons. But fears of gentrification? I don't think so. From the Daily News:

Ted Fikre, AEG's chief legal and development officer, said the $60 million figure is "significantly higher" than the $20 million amount sought by the coalition at the start of negotiations. He was unaware of the LACAN's new demands until told by the Daily News on Thursday. The stadium doesn't displace residents, so AEG shouldn't have to pay for a housing trust, Fikre said. Nevertheless, he said, negotiations would continue with the coalition.

The housing activists are part of the coalition that filed suit challenging a state law that shortens the time frame in which developers can be brought to court over an environmental impact report. This lawsuit about lawsuits might seem like a joke, but it threatens to delay - or even kill - the $1.2-billion stadium. From the LAT:

[Natural Resources Defense Council senior attorney David Pettit] and his group support the stadium and are not involved in the case. But he warned that if the coalition prevails, AEG could lose the ability to show the National Football League it had resolved all of the legal issues surrounding its project by March -- just as critical talks on obtaining a possible team are expected to take place. "If that litigation is successful ... it could take down the entire project," said Pettit, who noted his group has been a backer of the stadium "from day one."

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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