Roski Discusses NFL Stadium Plans at SPPD Athenian Event
By Matthew Kredell
The NFL will return to Los Angeles to play in a plush and innovative new stadium located in the City of Industry for the 2013 season, Majestic Realty Co. chairman and CEO Edward Roski Jr. and colleague John Semcken boldly proclaimed Sept. 22 as part of the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development Dean’s Speaker Series.
“That’s what is going to happen,” said Semcken, who serves as project manager for the proposed Los Angeles Stadium. “Take it to the bank.”
Roski, a USC alumnus and president of the USC Board of Trustees, gave a behind-the-scenes look at the stadium in a special event presented by the SPPD Athenian Society at Pacific Palms Resort in the City of Industry. The SPPD Athenian Society is the school’s premiere donor group.
The proposal, on a 600-acre property owned by Majestic, would create a 75,000-seat stadium surrounded by an entertainment complex similar to Universal City Walk, with a movie theater, restaurants, performing arts center and medical facility. The stadium would be the first LEED-certified facility in the NFL, implementing green building design and construction as outlined by the U.S. Green Building Council.
After being introduced by SPPD Dean Jack H. Knott, Roski offered what he has learned in more than a decade of planning and policy work to bring an NFL team back to Los Angeles.
Roski, a part-owner in the Lakers and Kings, never dreamed of getting into the sports business. One day, while thinking of what to do with property Majestic owned in downtown Los Angeles, it struck him that what the city really needed was a new arena. Thus began Staples Center and his connection to the Lakers and Kings.
Once the arena was finished in 1999, Roski set his sights on returning the NFL to Los Angeles via a revamped Coliseum. He ran into policy issues in dealing with the Coliseum Commission, a state intent on providing no public funding and a league biased against the facility, and lost the bid on an expansion team to Houston, which provided $195 million in public funding.
“The planning side of the school comes in here,” Roski said. “During this time, we learned from the NFL what they really wanted. Football is an all-day event. You need land, parking, tailgating, all these things to create an experience so people feel they are getting their money’s worth. We learned what makes it work, and why we had problems at the Coliseum.
“During this time, we got to know the NFL owners. It’s kind of like a fraternity. They need to know who is going to be their partner. It takes a long time to gain their confidence but, over the years, we were able to do so.”
Semcken took the podium and gave the same presentation that wowed NFL owners and officials in June. Los Angeles Stadium would be situated within 30 miles of 11.5 million people and an approximate hour Sunday driving distance of 15.5 million people, with access from four freeways just in the immediate vicinity, 25,000 parking spaces and no public funding.
Majestic would fund the stadium itself and keep expenses to an estimated $800 million, half that of the Meadowlands Stadium being built in New Jersey to house the Giants and Jets beginning next season, by nestling the stadium into a hill to minimize the use of expensive materials such as steel.
Majestic projects the stadium project would generate $762 million of economic output into the local economy, create 6,735 permanent jobs, over 12,000 construction jobs and more than $21 million in annual tax revenue for local and county governments.
An existing NFL team will need to agree to move to Los Angeles before stadium construction can begin. Roski plans to speed up the process by negotiating to buy a team beginning in February, once the current NFL season ends. The team could play in the Rose Bowl or Coliseum until Los Angeles Stadium is ready in 2013.
Photos by Tom Queally