Inglewood Council Rams Through NFL Stadium Proposal

The Inglewood City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve plans for a $2 billion, 80,000-seat stadium proposed by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

The move, which is part of the redevelopment of the former Hollywood Park racetrack, could see the franchise relocate to Los Angeles.

Kroenke's stadium proposal had received enough supporting petition signatures to force the council to take action, and rather than opting to hold an election on the issue or another hearing within 10 days, the measure was passed at a noisy meeting, which was so well-attended it had a second room for overspill.

The measure puts Inglewood in the driving seat for bringing professional football back to Los Angeles according to NBC4 sports anchor Fred Roggin.

"Inglewood has pocket aces, so they are in the lead at this point in time," Roggin said. "First shovel in the ground will win the game, and by Inglewood doing what they're doing, they have the opportunity now to start digging."

Development is already underway on a 238-acre retail, office, hotel and residential project at the Hollywood Park site, which is just over 12 miles from Downtown LA, and that effort will continue. The 4 million-square-foot project was approved by the city in 2009.

At the meeting one member of public said the stadium would be an economic boon for the area, with developers estimating it would generate at least $25 million in new revenue annually for the city.

"Think about all the revenue that's going to come, think about Super Bowls, think about the Olympics, think about hotels, shopping, concerts," he said.

There was some dissent however, particularly about the effect increased travel on game days would have on the area.

"To pretend we will have no traffic issues when it will be larger than... Dodger Stadium is slightly ridiculous," one detractor told the council.

Although Kroenke is behind the stadium effort, the Rams have not announced any plans to move to Southern California. 

However city documents noted that approving the stadium "would provide the city with a unique ability to attract a National Football League franchise to Southern California.''

One Rams fan had traveled all the way to attend the meeting, and said he would move to the city if a move goes ahead.

"No, I'm not in Inglewood, but as soon as the Rams relocate and make that announcement, I'll be housed here," he said.

The Rams have been pushing for a new stadium to replace the Edward Jones Dome, where the team has played since 1995. Kroenke's Inglewood plans will likely increase pressure on St. Louis to either strike a deal for a new stadium or watch the team return to Southern California, where it played from 1946 to 1994.

According to the initiative presented to Inglewood, the stadium project "would be funded entirely with private funds provided by the property owner developing the project. Inglewood residents and the city would pay no taxes or subsidies for stadium construction."

In addition to the Rams, Kroenke's company Kroenke Sports Enterprises also owns the NBA's Denver Nuggets, NHL's Colorado Avalanche, the MLS's Colorado Rapids. He is also the largest shareholder of English football club Arsenal.

The announcement follows hot on the heels of the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders announcing  they were working together on a possible $1.7 billion shared stadium in Carson.

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