Rams owner plans to build NFL stadium in LA

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke plans to build an NFL stadium in Inglewood, Calif., which could pave the way for the league’s return to Los Angeles.

Los Angeles hasn’t had an NFL team since 1994, but Kroenke’s real estate development firm, the Kroenke Group, and Stockbridge Capital Group told the Los Angeles Times of their partnership to build an 80,000-seat stadium. The stadium would be built on a 60-acre parcel of land, which Kroenke purchased in early 2014. The land is adjacent to the Forum, the former home of the Lakers and Kings.

Stockbridge Capital Group, which owns the 238-acre Hollywood Park site, already had plans for a mixed-use community on the land that formerly housed the famed thoroughbred racing track which closed last year.

The city of Los Angeles lost both the Raiders and Rams after the 1994 season, but none of the previous stadium plans were ever backed by a current NFL owner capable of moving his team into the country’s second-largest market.

According to the report in Monday’s Los Angeles Times, the Rams want to convert their lease at St. Louis’ Edward Jones Dome to a year-to-year agreement later this month. If the team and the city fail to come to an agreement to build a new stadium, the Rams could move back to the area it called home from 1946 to 1994.

Kroenke, a billionaire who built his fortune in real estate, has been unhappy with the Rams playing in the Edward Jones Dome, which is considered outdated by current NFL standards. Under their current deal, according to the newspaper, the Rams can end their 30-year lease a decade early because they have not reached an agreement with St. Louis officials on improvements to the stadium. The sides remain about $575 million apart. St. Louis is expected to offer the team a new proposal by month’s end.

“We are excited to unveil an expanded plan that will bring a world-class sports and entertainment district to Hollywood Park,” Terry Fancher, founder of Stockbridge, said in a statement to the Times. “We are committed to working with (the Kroenke Group) to build a project that will put Inglewood back on the map as home of the truly great sports and entertainment venues.”

Developers of the project told the newspaper that no tax dollars would be used for the construction project, including the stadium, which could be completed by 2018.

Last month, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told all 32 NFL teams that no team would be allowed to move to Los Angeles for the 2015 season. The Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders are all teams that used to play in Los Angeles and are unhappy with their current stadiums.

“No team has applied for relocation and there will be no team relocations for the 2015 season,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said via email to Pro Football Talk. “We are committed to working towards having franchises that are strong and successful in their existing markets. Any decision on relocation in 2016 or later is subject to approval by the 32 clubs. An affirmative vote by 24 of 32 clubs (three-fourths) is required.”

Kroenke’s announcement is the latest in more than a dozen stadium proposals that have come and gone in the two-decade effort to bring an NFL franchise back to Los Angeles.

There are two other stadium proposals currently on the table for NFL stadiums in Los Angeles, according to ESPN.com. The Anschutz Entertainment Group, the company behind Farmers Field, a proposed $1.5 billion football stadium and convention center expansion in downtown Los Angeles, got a six-month extension in October to its existing agreement with the city of Los Angeles for the project.

A competing stadium proposed by real estate magnate Ed Roski in the City of Industry has been “shovel ready” for years but, as is the case with Farmers Field, needs a long-term commitment from an NFL team before construction can begin.

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