Has AEG shown up too late for the party? Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) led by President and CEO Tim Leiweke wants to take part in bringing the next NFL franchise to Los Angeles, or so it seems. Both Leiweke and businessman Casey Wasserman, Founder and CEO of the Wasserman Media Group have expressed interest in building a stadium behind the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. There’s only one problem, that other project over in the City of Industry. While AEG has reportedly had interest for some time, it has been a relatively moot point, that is, until yesterday. Environmental groups, more specifically, a coalition of 44, which include the Planning and Conservation League, Sierra Club of California, and the Natural Resources Defense Council have pushed back angrily over AEG’s desire to be exempted from the environmental impact review (EIR) process for the downtown site.
Tina Andolina, a Planning and Conservation League director, said legislative staffers have told her of Assembly members being approached by an AEG lobbyist about exempting a stadium from the California Environmental Quality Act.
She said the lobbyist was said to be citing as a precedent last year’s vote allowing work to begin on a separate stadium project about 15 miles to the east, in the City of Industry, despite a lawsuit over its environmental review. (Businessweek)
Andolina went on to add that without an EIR process it would only further pollute the air, and upset local communities.
The project in the City of Industry, proposed by Majestic Reality Co. and dubbed Los Angeles Stadium, received the go-ahead back in October 2009 when Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill allowing for construction of a 75,000 seat facility. Majestic intends to pay for the stadium with private funds.
AEG is a force, credited with revitalizing the downtown area with Staples Center, Nokia Theatre, and LA Live amenities. With that said, they have some catching up to do as the Industry project is currently viewed as the only credible attempt at bringing the NFL to the region. Is AEG too late? Where do you want the stadium?