The city is selling a 53-acre parcel once considered for a stadium to a firm planning to build shops, hotels and office towers.I havent even noticed them missing from Los Angeles the past decade!
By Dave McKibben, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 6, 2007
Scratch another city off the list of possible homes for an NFL team in Southern California.
A week after Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the Memorial Coliseum is "no longer a viable option," Anaheim officials said much the same about a large chunk of city-owned land in the Angel Stadium parking lot.
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"The NFL's train has left," Anaheim Councilwoman Lucille Kring said. "It would cost the taxpayers too much money, and the return on the investment does not warrant it. This city has learned to live without a football team since the Rams left years ago. I'd rather make a concerted effort to get an NBA team."
Anaheim is expected to officially bow out of the National Football League sweepstakes in a few months when it sells the 53-acre stadium site to Archstone-Smith and Hines, which plans to build shops, hotels and office towers. The developer has reportedly offered the city more than $150 million, three times what an NFL team would pay to build a stadium in the Platinum Triangle -- a sprouting urban village where about 9,000 homes are planned within 10 years.
"It's a completely dead issue with us," Anaheim Councilman Harry Sidhu said. "If there's any chance of this coming back, it'll have to be in discussions with Archstone and the NFL."
Archstone officials declined to say whether they would be interested in continuing to negotiate with the NFL once they purchase the land, but one of the company's plans incorporates an NFL stadium.
Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman, also declined comment. A little more than two years ago, Anaheim was a serious player in the NFL stadium derby with the Coliseum, the Rose Bowl and Carson. At a news conference in May 2005, the city presented a lavish plan to create a broad, tree-lined boulevard to link Anaheim's emerging downtown to the Disney resorts three miles away.
But plans for that boulevard quickly died, and Anaheim council members began questioning the wisdom of selling valuable city land at a discounted price to the NFL.
Then late last year, as the NFL's estimate for the cost of building a stadium topped $1 billion, Anaheim began to cool to the idea as potential team owners shied away from the ballooning price tag.
In May, the city gave exclusive development rights to Archstone.
Pasadena and Carson bowed out of the running more than two years ago.
Pasadena didn't have the political support for a team, and Carson abandoned the NFL plan in favor of other opportunities. Over the summer, the league told Los Angeles Coliseum officials that placing a team there wasn't feasible.
Millionaire Ed Roski is working on a stadium proposal in the City of Industry and met last month with NFL executives about that project.
A strong sign that Anaheim is pulling away from the NFL is the cool relationship the parties have had recently. Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle, the council's leading proponent of a pro football stadium, said he had not spoken with the league in almost a year.
"I'm less inclined to go out and solicit them," he said. "They came to us when they saw the opportunity here."
The land deal with Archstone will probably be finalized by early next year, Pringle said.
"As we make decisions, we're closing off opportunities on the land," he said. "Archstone has the ability to keep the NFL stadium alive. Will they? Probably not. It doesn't maximize their return."
Once the land on the outskirts of the Angel Stadium parking lot is off the table, Pringle said, there would be few, if any, places to build an NFL stadium in Anaheim. The only two large parcels left in the city are privately held: a 103-acre site on La Palma Avenue, where Boeing is phasing out its operation, and a prime chunk of strawberry fields down Harbor Boulevard from Disneyland that is the designated site of a third park.
Within the last week, the Boeing parcel went into escrow with a developer who wants to build office space on the site.
Disney bought the farming property about 10 years ago, but company officials have not disclosed specific plans for the parcel.
Sidhu, who was the first council member to oppose a possible NFL land deal, said the city was looking for more of an "economic generator" than a stadium.
"The NFL has not made an offer that has excited the city," he said. "These stadium deals only work where a city needs more excitement. We don't need it, we have enough tourist attractions and a baseball team and hockey team. If the NFL wants to go and steal from the taxpayer and get richer, they can go to some small town."