Lead Story Sports West Edition

Clippers pledge $100 million to Inglewood

INGLEWOOD — The city is discussing a proposal with the Los Angeles Clippers that would have the team invest $100 million in community development benefits as part of the plan to build the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center, which the team wants to open in fall 2024.

Up to $75 million of the proposed investment would be used to create a permanent fund dedicated to the development of affordable housing in the city.

The proposed $100 million package includes:

• The $75 million for a new, permanent Affordable Housing Development Loan Fund that would be administered by a local housing nonprofit.

• $5.5 million in grants to help first-time buyers with down-payment assistance and other services to qualify for homeownership, as well as emergency financial and legal support over five years to prevent homelessness and evictions in Inglewood.

• $12.75 million in youth and education funding for after-school activities such as design and coding camps for Inglewood students. The money also would cover dropout prevention programs at two high schools, college and career advice and college scholarships for low-income high school graduates.

• $6 million for physical improvements to the Inglewood Public Library, including improvements to the community center to better serve Inglewood teenagers.

• $500,000 to renovate public basketball courts in Inglewood and to provide funding for senior programs, including computer literacy.

The presentation was made by Inglewood City Manager Artie Fields during the Inglewood City Council meeting Sept. 10, sharing insights into current negotiations and previewing a possible final community benefits package.

“The Clippers organization plans to be a real game changer in the city of Inglewood,” Fields said. “Not only are they going to build the most magnificent basketball arena the world has ever seen, the mayor has established a set of parameters, negotiating a community benefits package that could end up being the most generous in sports history.”

The proposed 18,500-seat arena and team headquarters project is expected to create an estimated 10,000 construction jobs and more than 1,500 permanent jobs. Meanwhile, with local hire guidelines in place, 30% of available construction jobs would go to local labor and 35% of the available permanent arena event operation jobs would go to local residents. 

A three-year agreement was approved by Inglewood City Council in July 2017, giving the Clippers the exclusive rights to develop the mostly vacant city-owned land on West Century Boulevard near Prairie Avenue, just south of the LA Stadium and Entertainment District, which will house the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, beginning in 2020.

“The Clippers organization will bring tremendous employment opportunities for our residents and continue to propel the economic revitalization for our city,” Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. said. “But it was important for us to front load this benefits package with assistance for affordable housing.

“We want the people who have put their faith in this community and who have put down roots in Inglewood to be able to continue to reside here and reap the benefits of this renaissance.”

Madison Square Garden, which owns the Forum, is suing the city of Inglewood, over disputes to the city-owned land, which they once leased for overflow parking.

Meanwhile, the Uplift Inglewood Coalition said the announcement of the proposed $100 million investment is a direct result of years of public advocacy and community organizing.

It comes after a separate lawsuit was filed by Cozen O’Connor, Public Counsel and the Public Interest Law Project on behalf of Uplift Inglewood, charging violations of California’s Surplus Land Act, which requires cities to give first priority to affordable housing and other public uses when selling public land.

“In the midst of booming development, skyrocketing rents and an acute shortage of affordable housing, today’s victory shows that development without displacement is possible,” said Uplift Inglewood Coalition member, D’Artagnan Scorza. “Our efforts don’t stop here. We will continue to hold both the city and the Clippers accountable to the Inglewood community.”