Business Lead Story Prep Sports West Edition

Rams move has Inglewood looking forward

INGLEWOOD — A state-of-the-art football stadium and entertainment complex as part of a development that could challenge L.A. Live and The Grove as destination points have many members of the community excited.

The National Football League last month gave the St. Louis Rams permission to relocate to Los Angeles and build a football stadium as part of a major project that will replace the former Hollywood Park race track.

Marc T. Little, an attorney and the president of the Inglewood Airport Area Chamber of Commerce, has been working to improve Inglewood’s image recently. He said the city is in a state of revitalization and the NFL stadium makes it even better.

“The Inglewood business community has long awaited the manifestation of the Hollywood Park Tomorrow project,” Little said. “With the announcement that football is returning [and that the stadium] will reside next to the Forum — the hottest concert venue in Los Angeles — the Hollywood Park Tomorrow project is sure to become the premier entertainment destination for the entire Los Angeles basin.

“The expected economic impact for our business owners will be significant,” Little added. “These developments come at a time when the city is experiencing the lowest crime rates in recent history along with the revitalization of major corridors like Century Boulevard and Market Street.

“All of these factors make the city a destination. … New businesses will enter the market and we believe existing businesses will see more activity than ever before.  It’s a good time to be a part of the Inglewood community,” Little added.

The construction of the new stadium and the rest of the Hollywood Park Tomorrow project is sure to produce construction jobs and other employment opportunities that will come with the development.

Amos Young Jr., a labor relations spokesperson for the Service Employees International Union, has lobbied for fair wages for employees on the stadium project and other construction as well.

“I am elated thousands of primarily Inglewood residents and those within surrounding communities will have an opportunity to work and build this new state-of-the-art facility,” Amos said. “Whether you’re a janitor, licensed security officer, gatekeeper, plumber or pipefitter, working families will have guaranteed wages, with workplace protections in place to ensure their health and safety for years to come.

Inglewood Mayor James Butts has demonstrated in the past a commitment to organized labor, Amos said, which will be helpful once construction is underway.

The city has set a goal of hiring local residents for 35 percent of the jobs on the project.

The Hollywood Park Land Company, which will build the majority of the Hollywood Park Tomorrow project, has been actively hiring for two years now.

Gerald McCallum, senior project manager, said interested residents can apply for jobs at the website.

Inglewood won out over Carson in the battle for the NFL stadium.

NFL owners voted 30-2 on Jan. 12 to return a team to Los Angeles after a 21-year absence and to build a new stadium in Inglewood, rather than Carson.

The stadium and surrounding development will be built on what used to be the Hollywood Park race track, a landmark that existed for almost 30 years before the Forum was built across the street, but quit hosting horse races in 2013.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke purchased 60 acres of land across from The Forum in January 2014.

A year later he began talking about building a stadium on the site and relocating his team.

However, Kroenke and NFL officials refused to confirm that the land purchase would be for the

With an estimated cost ranging from $1.86 billion to $3 billion, the so-called Inglewood City of Champions Stadium will be most expensive sports stadium ever built.

City officials hope that in addition to Rams games, the stadium will host future Super Bowl NCAA basketball final fours and NCAA football championship games

The 300-acre development will feature 890,000 square feet of retail space, 780,000 square feet of office space, a 300-room hotel and 2,500 new homes.

By and large, the talk about the Rams coming to town has been mostly positive.

Herb Aguirre said, “the future looks bright for the city of Inglewood.”

Randy Troy, a local Rams fan, said “L.A. Rams fans are sincerely thankful.”

Charles Griffith, an Inglewood resident, said, “The NFL coming to Inglewood is a much needed breath of fresh air.”

On the other side, though are people who say gentrification will follow the stadium and Hollywood Park Tomorrow project.

Tracy Harris, a Los Angeles resident living near Inglewood, is concerned that low-income renters will be pushed aside as rents increase as the stadium becomes a reality.

“Not everyone is a winner,” Harris said. “What about those who are renting and the owners are raising the rent two to three times that amount because there is no rent control?”

Patricia Jones, an Inglewood business owner, said, “The sad thing with the Rams coming to Inglewood, the gentrification has already started.”

“Look at rent prices on Craigslist,” she said. “How is it that a crappy one bedroom costs more in Inglewood then on the westside?”