How desperate is LA for a pro league football team? So desperate that when the owner of an NFL team buys a parking lot, we see a stadium.
The owner of the St. Louis Rams has snatched up a 60-acre parking lot in Inglewood, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed Friday.
Reports of the land acquisition from multiple media outlets have prompted questions over whether it would be feasible for billionaire Rams owner Stan Kroenke to transform the large plot of land -- between the Forum and Hollywood Park -- into an NFL stadium.
Kroenke and the Rams have been embroiled in negotiations over an upgrade to the Ram's stadium in St. Louis. A contract with the Rams stipulates that an upgrade to the18-year-old Edward Jones Dome is required for St. Louis to retain the team after the 2014-15 season.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed the purchase on Friday at the annual State of the League news conference, but said he hasn’t heard any word of a new stadium in Los Angeles.
“There are no plans to my knowledge of a stadium development,” Goodell said. “Anything that would require any kind of stadium development requires multiple votes from the membership.”
The Kroenke Organizations, which handle real estate transactions for the billionaire Rams owner, confirmed the LA parking lot purchase in an email statement. They declined to elaborate.
“As real estate developers, the Kroenke Organizations are involved in numerous real estate deals across the country and North America,” the statement said.
“While we can confirm media reports that we recently purchased land in Inglewood, as a private company we don’t typically discuss our plans for commercial or residential investments.
"We have yet to decide what we are going to do with the property but we will look at all options, as we do with all our properties.”
The possibility of the Rams moving to the West Coast shines the spotlight on the prospect of a football team returning to the Los Angeles area for the first time in nearly two decades.
It also hints at a potential renaissance for Inglewood, which lost the Lakers and the Kings to AEG’s Staples Center.
The entire Los Angeles area has not had an NFL team since the Rams and Raiders took their respective departures in 1994.
Rams COO Kevin Demoff declined to comment when reached by the NBC affiliate NewsChannel 5 in St. Louis.
Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts told the Los Angeles Times he is aware of the land sale but has not received any sort of offer with regard to a stadium.