LAFC Announces $250m Stadium Plan
On Monday, May 18, 2015, Major League Soccer’s newest Los Angeles franchise, the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), announced plans to build a $250m stadium next to the LA Memorial Coliseum in Exposition Park, close to USC’s campus. The stadium is scheduled to be complete for LAFC’s debut season in 2018.
Los Angeles’s Next Soccer Team – LAFC
LAFC’s 24-member ownership group, which includes Magic Johnson and women’s World-Cup hall of famer Mia Hamm, paid a league record $110m expansion fee to join the MLS in October of 2014. At that time, the team was expected to join the MLS in 2017. LAFC’s introductory announcement was made shortly after another Los Angeles team, Chivas, announced that it was disbanding, thereby making way for another second Los Angeles MLS team. At that time, LAFC intended to explore various stadium sites throughout Los Angeles.
The recently announced $250m LAFC complex will replace the current Sports Arena to cover 15 acres of land adjacent to the Memorial Coliseum, and will include a conference center, restaurants, a soccer museum, and a 22,000 seat stadium. The project will be the country’s costliest soccer stadium according to the Los Angeles Times. In order to allow sufficient time to complete the project, LAFC’s debut season has been pushed back from 2017 to 2018.
The stadium project will cost $100m more than the team’s projection seven months ago, and still needs approval from the Coliseum Commission and the L.A. City Council. However, both groups, as well as L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, have already expressed support for the project. Approval is expected by July.
LAFC Stadium Implications for South Los Angeles
The LAFC stadium project is expected to create 1,200 temporary construction jobs and 1,800 full time jobs, and is expected to generate $2.5m in annual tax revenue. Of course, it also promises to bolster the area’s growth by drawing crowds to the area not only for soccer matches, but also to visit the soccer museum, restaurants, and conference center. According to Magic Johnson, who has made a habit of bringing business to growing neighborhoods, “This is probably the most exciting thing coming to South L.A. in a long time. . . . This is what the community needed. This is what the city of L.A. needed.”
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