Business Lead Story Professional Sports West Edition

Stadium means unclear future for Inglewood businesses

INGLEWOOD —Massive cranes and heavy equipment, including a yellow excavator can be seen in the distance on land at Hollywood Park. It’s clear that construction is underway on a new football stadium that will house the Los Angeles Rams and the San Diego Chargers, who last week announced they would be moving north to share the stadium with the Rams.

What’s not clear is the future for small businesses located in a strip mall across the street from the construction site.

“I’m excited, but also a little scared,” said Ninfa Angel, a partner with Hi Tech Cleaners. “We had to move from Crenshaw and Slauson two years ago when they [started building} the Metro Line, and now I’m wondering if we’re going to have to move again. They might want to put a hotel up here and then we would have to move to another place.”

Angel is among a handful of business owners facing an uncertain future as soil is prepped for the construction of the 80,000-seat stadium complex slated to open in time for the 2019 NFL season. It is possible that the strip mall could be sold leaving those businesses with the task of having to relocate.

One strip mall visitor named Gisella said she’s excited about the stadium, but hopes that the jobs and income promised by the teams’ owners will actually materialize, and that no crime comes along with the new stadium. Others said they were looking on the bright side of having the stadium so close.

“I think the Chargers sharing the stadium with the Rams will be more positive than negative,” said Ron Moaddel of JFM Investment Properties, who owns the strip mall with his brother.

“We’ve had some calls about the property, but we’re not accepting any offers,” Moaddel said. “We’re not worried about selling it right now because I don’t think the stadium will be ready until 2021. If the price is right, we will sell it,” Moaddel said.

Inglewood Mayor James Butts spoke Jan. 18 at the Forum during an event to welcome the Chargers to Inglewood. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also attended. (Photo by Tyrone Cole)
Inglewood Mayor James Butts spoke Jan. 18 at the Forum during an event to welcome the Chargers to Inglewood. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also attended. (Photo by Tyrone Cole)

The stadium complex will include an entertainment district NFL officials are calling “NFL Disney World.”

The footprint is expected to be the world’s most expensive sports arena featuring several components, including retail office space, residential homes, a hotel, and several acres of parks.

For football fans, the project brings excitement and mixed emotions following an announcement on Jan. 12 by the San Diego Charges that they would be moving to Los Angeles after failing to get a ballot measure passed in November to build a new stadium using public funding in San Diego.

“I just don’t want the Chargers to leave San Diego,” said Monty who didn’t want to give his last name.

The stadium’s expected 80,000-seat capacity could be expanded to as much as 100,000 for major events.  It’s expected to include 275 luxury suites, more than 16,000 premium seats and have nearly 3 million square feet of usable space. The overall project has a price tag estimated at about $2.6 billion.

According to contractors, the stadium construction will provide more than 3,500 on-site construction jobs in Inglewood and more than 10,000 jobs by the time it is completed.

The stadium is expected to be the centerpiece of an entertainment and commercial center spanning roughly 300 acres. The district is envisioned to include a roughly 6,000-seat arena, nearly 1.5 million square feet of retail and office space, 2,500 residential units and possibly a 300-room hotel, along with 25 acres of parks and open space.

The city of Inglewood held an event to welcome the Chargers to town Jan. 18 at the Forum. Mayor James Butts, Chargers owner Dean Spanos, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, new head coach Anthony Lynn and quarterback Philip Rivers were among the speakers at the event.