Less than a month removed from its landmark acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Los Angeles Clippers have unveiled long-awaited plans for its proposed arena in Inglewood.
Slated for the intersection of Century Boulevard and Prairie Avenue, the project is highlighted by an 18,500-seat venue. Plans also call for:
- an 85,000-square-foot practice and athletic training facility;
- 71,000 square feet of office space for the Clippers organization;
- a 25,000-square-foot sports medicine clinic;
- 63,000 square feet of ancillary retail;
- a public plaza featuring a large LED screen, a concert stage, and basketball courts;
- a 150-room hotel; and
- two parking structures.
“My goal is simple. I want the Clippers to have the best home in all of sports,” said Clippers Chairman Steve Ballmer in a statement. “What that means to me is an unparalleled environment for players, for fans, for sponsors and for the community of Inglewood. Our goal is to build a facility that re-sets fans’ expectations while having a transformative impact on the city we will call home.”
The arena, which is being designed by AECOM, would have a three-dimensional oval shape with an exterior of diamond-shaped metal panels intended to resemble a basketball net. In addition to a street-fronting plaza flanked by retail, the arena would include a series of indoor-outdoor "sky gardens" accessible from each concourse level.
Wilson Meany is developing the proposed complex, which is being privately financed and is intended to be built to LEED Gold standards. Construction is expected to occur over a period of 36 months, with completion occurring before Fall 2024, when the Clippers' leases at Staples Center is set to expire.
The project, which would neighbor an NFL stadium now under construction at site of the former Hollywood Park racetrack, has proven to be a lightning rod of controversy.
Madison Square Garden, which converted the nearby Forum into a full-time concert venue, has sued the City of Inglewood to stop the project, alleging that Mayor James Butts deceived the company into forfeiting rights to the land on which the Clippers arena would be built. A separate lawsuit fighting the project has also been filed by a group of Inglewood residents.
The Clippers and Wilson Meany have sought to expedite the approval process by submitting the project to the Governor's Office of Planning and Research for certification as an "Environmental Leadership Development Project." That status, reserved for developments budgeted at $100 million or more that meet certain sustainability targets, is intended to allow lawsuits against the project to proceed more swiftly through the court system.
However, a letter to the Office of Planning and Research signed by California State Assemblymembers Al Muratsuchi, Laura Friedman, Cristina Garcia, and Kevin McCarty questions whether the Clippers arena should be eligible for ELDP certification as currently proposed. The letter, which was sent in June, contends that analysis submitted with the project application deliberately underestimates anticipated greenhouse gas emissions and does not provide any concrete strategies for reducing automobile trips.
"If the project proceeds as proposed, the result will be more local traffic and air pollution in Inglewood," reads the letter. "This will shortchange the very communities the project purports to benefit."
- Clippers (Urbanize LA)