Key players in a plan to build the nation’s most expensive soccer stadium on the site of the aging Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena have moved a step closer to their goal.
The Los Angeles Football Club, poised to debut as a Major League Soccer franchise in 2018, is intent on privately financing a $250-million soccer stadium to call home in Exposition Park.
On Thursday, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, which governs the operation and maintenance of the Sports Arena, approved an addendum to the environmental impact report on the 15-acre site slated for construction.
Commission President and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas hailed the 3-0 vote, as well as new details about the LAFC’s commitment to hire local workers.
“I am thrilled to advance a proposed new landmark in South LA that would create thousands of jobs, and kick start economic development in an area that desperately needs it,” he said.
Groundbreaking could take place between August and September next year.
“We want it to be one of the cathedrals of soccer in this country and around the world,” said LAFC managing partner and owner Henry Nguyen.
LAFC president and owner Tom Penn added, “it gives us roots and really defines what we’re all about.”
LAFC’s owners include former Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson; Mandalay Entertainment CEO and Dodgers co-owner Peter Guber; self-help author Tony Robbins; women’s World Cup champion Mia Hamm; and former Major League Baseball all-star Nomar Garciaparra.
Aside from a soccer stadium with 22,000 seats, LAFC is looking at building a football museum, restaurants, and retail and office space. It would require demolishing the Sports Area, which opened in 1959, and has served as the home court of the Lakers, Clippers and Kings, as well as the USC and UCLA basketball teams over the years.