An undersized facility and a dearth of hotel rooms are two factors frequently cited in the struggles of the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC). Over the past decade, the City has undertaken a number of strategies to address these two deficiencies, ranging from tax incentives for hotel developers to potentially adding new exhibition space above Pico Boulevard.
The latest gambit may come in the form of a public-private partnership (P3) with one of the biggest players in Downtown real estate.
According to a motion authored by 9th District City Councilmember Curren Price, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) has reached out to the City with an offer to "develop a Convention Center project that would expand the exhibition facility and full-service hotel capacity needs of the City, while providing private development opportunities complementary to Staples Center and L.A. Live."
The possibility of a P3 arrangement first arose in late 2015, when Los Angeles Chief Administrative Officer Miguel Santana recommended it as an alternative to a $350-million expansion plan that has also been pursued by the City Council. Acccording to Santana, bringing in a private party to build, operate and maintain the enlarged LACC would capitalize on Downtown's recent construction boom and ultimately save taxpayers money.
AEG has a longstanding partnership with the City of Los Angeles, having previously developed both Staples Center and L.A. Live. In 2010, the sports and entertainment giant spearheaded the ultimately unsuccessful Farmer's Field development, which would have expanded the Convention Center by building an NFL stadium in place of its aging north hall. More recently, AEG has taken over day-to-day management of LACC, resulting in increased bookings over the past two years.
It is unclear how this potential agreement would affect AEG's plan to expand L.A. Live's J.W. Marriott hotel through a 38-story hotel across Olympic Boulevard. The project, budgeted at $500 million, was reportedly cancelled earlier this year, following a disagreement between AEG and City over tentative plans for a 1,000-room hotel on the Convention Center property.
The City will evaluate AEG's proposal before deciding how to proceed.