When Wal-Mart Stores Inc. sold a vacant 60-acre parcel in Inglewood last month, it immediately renewed speculation that the site could become a National Football League stadium. One team official last week said soon after the sale that there was a lot of “chatter” in the NFL that St. Louis Rams owner E. Stanley Kroenke appeared to have made the purchase.
The Inglewood mayor said regardless of who had bought the land, it clearly had been of interest to professional football in recent months.
“My office has been contacted by no less five separate sets of parties” with regard to the property, said Mayor James Butts. “At least three of them were football team owners.”
Butts would not identify those who had been in contact with the city.
Inglewood has long been considered a good place for a football stadium, and the Wal-Mart site, albeit small for a stadium, is a particularly good spot in that city of 111,000. The site sits between the Forum, which reopened a couple of weeks ago, and Hollywood Park race track, which closed in December. Hollywood Park is slated to be redeveloped into a 238-acre mixed-use community.
The Wal-Mart property was the subject of a contentious battle a decade ago when the retailer wanted to build stores there but the public voted it down. Wal-Mart held on to the property until selling it Jan. 15.
According to property records at the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office, the buyer was Pincay RE, apparently named for the street next to the property. The principals could not be determined, but the agent for Pincay is an associate in the New York office of law firm Clifford Chance. That law firm represented Kroenke in his 2011 purchase of British soccer club Arsenal.
Kroenke, whose sports business is based in Denver, is married to the daughter of late Wal-Mart co-founder Bud Walton. He has developed sites for Wal-Mart and sat on its board until his term ended in 2001. Kroenke also reportedly owns a seven-bedroom villa on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. His net worth was estimated by Forbes to be $5.3 billion.
In addition to owning Arsenal and the Rams, which left Anaheim for St. Louis in 1995, Kroenke owns the Denver Nuggets basketball franchise and the Colorado Avalanche hockey team. He has vast shopping center and other real estate holdings.
Rick Kinnard, vice president of realty for Wal-Mart in Bentonville, Ark., confirmed the sale, but would not say who the principals of Pincay are.