July 19, 2011

Los Angeles Citizens Group Challenges City on Proposed Downtown Stadium

LOS ANGELES, July 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- LA Neighbors United, a Los Angeles community group founded by a former CB Richard Ellis executive, today called on city leaders to seek a minimum annual revenue guarantee as part of the downtown stadium and convention center deal being negotiated now. LA Neighbors United wants the revenue guaranteed to fund neighborhood improvements across the city, including a sidewalk improvement program. Los Angeles has an estimated $1 billion in deferred sidewalk repairs outstanding.

In a full-page ad in today's Los Angeles Times, the group said: "The odds are high that the proposed downtown stadium will produce zero lasting benefits for the people of Los Angeles. That's not a good deal." A copy of the ad is available at http://www.laneighbors.org/.

City officials and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) are working to execute a memorandum of understanding for a new downtown LA football stadium and a reconfiguration of the city's convention center facilities.

"As it looks now, there is a high probability that the vast majority, if not all, of the tax revenue generated by the deal will go back into the deal, including for facilities management, operations and infrastructure," said LA Neighbors United Founder Cary Brazeman, who is a former executive with CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. based in Los Angeles. "That would be a misappropriation of our tax dollars and an unlawful gift to the facilities operator. The deal should include a minimum annual revenue guarantee to the city, beyond the debt service guarantee. The project is going to generate a ton of cash on a prime site that could be redeveloped in other ways."

Brazeman said LA Neighbors United bears no ill will towards AEG, the prospective football team owner and stadium developer. "We applaud their interest in further investing in downtown Los Angeles, and wish the company well in its negotiations with the National Football League," he said.

Absent a minimum annual revenue guarantee, LA Neighbors United said it will oppose the stadium deal and advocate instead for a modest renovation of the city's existing convention center facilities, including potential redevelopment of the site to expand the current entertainment and commercial district.

"This is a prime location," Brazeman said. "We don't need a stadium to realize the highest and best use of the land, nor to maximize the site's revenue-generating potential. There are other ways we can do that."

SOURCE LA Neighbors United