The Inglewood City Council late Tuesday night approved plans to build a football stadium that includes St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke as a partner, clearing a path for a return to the Los Angeles area of the NFL for the first time in two decades.
The council approved the $2 billion plan with a 5-0 vote after a meeting with several hours of public comment and many vocal Rams fans wearing jerseys in attendance.
The vote adopts a new redevelopment plan without calling a public vote, effectively kickstarting construction and sidestepping lengthy environmental review of issues such as noise, traffic and air pollution.
It adds the 80,000 seat, 60-acre stadium to an existing 2009 plan to redevelop the former Hollywood Park racetrack site with homes, offices, stores, parks and open space and a hotel.
Kroenke is part of the Hollywood Park Land Co. development group that is promoting the project.
New urgency came to the issue last week with the announcement that the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers are planning a shared stadium in suburban Carson if they don't get their current hometowns to cough up enough money to replace their aging stadiums. Another stadium plan remains alive for downtown Los Angeles, but has no team attached.
Stadium proponents said it is important to approve the concept as soon as possible to avoid delays in the redevelopment that already is underway. They would like construction to start by year's end to have a venue ready for the 2018 football season.
A Feb. 20 consultants' report to the city manager backing the stadium notes that the developer, not the public, would pay the cost of building the stadium and says the plan would allow the city — once home to the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings before they moved to Los Angeles — "to continue its legacy of providing the region with world-class sports and entertainment."
The consultants also conclude that no new environmental impact reports — which are costly and often take months or even years — would be necessary.
The review also said the stadium would bring the city more than 10,000 jobs and tens of millions of dollars a year in new tax revenue.