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Saturday, Feb 4, 2023

Hollywood Park, an Inglewood Jewel

Since the SoFi Stadium opened in 2020, the new home of the Los Angeles Chargers and Super Bowl champions the Los Angeles Rams, has brought much attention to a revitalized Inglewood. However, that was only the beginning.

Spanning nearly 300 acres, Hollywood Park is the largest urban mixed-use development under construction in the Western United States. Developer and Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s vision for the site when completed will offer new apartment residences, public parks, a lake and entertainment venues, anchored by a retail district and surrounded by creative office space. The long-term final buildout of Hollywood Park will include 2,500 homes, 900,000 square feet of office space, 890,000 square feet of retail and a 300-key hotel. The complex has 25 acres of open space featuring a six-acre artificial lake fronting SoFi Stadium.

“We have about 15 million square feet of entitlements,” said Jason Gannon, managing director of SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park. “We’re in our phase one for the project, which is about 5 million square feet whenever you include SoFi Stadium, YouTube Theater, American Airlines Plaza, the NFL Media, first phase of residential and retail as well.”
The mixed-use development, which billions of dollars is being spent on, is all linked by walkable paseos and plazas and centered on SoFi Stadium.

There are components of the project that have already come online, such as SoFi Stadium, which at 3.1 million square feet and the ability to accommodate 100,000 fans, is the largest stadium in the National Football League. YouTube Theater, a 227,000-square-foot live entertainment venue, meanwhile, opened in August 2021. NFL is also betting on the project and in 2021 relocated from Culver City to 214,063 square feet within a 450,000-square-foot class A office building at Hollywood Park. There is an additional 74,922 square feet of studio and creative space devoted to the brand’s growing digital and programming departments.

“Within five miles of our site, there’s some 900,000 to 1 million people, all of whom constitute a market that anywhere else would be a whole city and yet has been traditionally underserved,” said Christopher Meany, partner at Wilson Meany, Hollywood Park’s development manager. “The real superpower of the place is the incredible cosmopolitan community that surrounds it. This is the one part of L.A. that didn’t have that social retail heart. Our project is actually about creating that.”

Residences ready

The first two apartment buildings totaling 314 units will start leasing this month. The site is entitled for up to 2,500 residences.

The Residences at Hollywood Park, consisting of the Crosby and the Wesley, is walkable to shopping, dining, sports and entertainment venues and public parks within the Hollywood Park complex. The residences were designed by prominent architects Hart Howerton and TCA Architects and interior design firms Kenneth Brown Design and Redmond Aldrich Design. The Crosby, with 213 units, and the Wesley, with 101 units, will offer a collection of residences from studios to three-bedroom units ranging 700 to 1,450 square feet.

Renderings of The Wesley and The Crosby.

“The buildings have different personalities,” Janice Thacher, retail and residential partner at Wilson Meany, said. “The Wesley is the smaller of the two buildings. It has a cozier feel. The Crosby has a nice pool deck. Both buildings are focused on indoor/outdoor living. A lot of outdoor space, roof decks, terraces, highly amenitized.”

Meany said that both were “nearing completion.” He did not disclose how much apartments at the Crosby and Wesley would rent for, but said they would be leased at market rate. According to Rent Café, the average rent in Inglewood is $2,254 at an average apartment size of 772 square feet.

The Crosby’s and Wesley’s combined 314 units remain a long way off from the 2,500 homes entitled at Hollywood Park.

“We’ll build out as the market demands,” Thacher said. “Just depending on the pace of the leasing, we’ll start focusing on future phases of residential development.”

“We are continually evaluating the residential inventory based on demand,” Gannon added. “Trying to balance the amount of construction activity at the site, we think it’s important to finish up our first phase of residential and get the residents here at the site and then turn to additional residential down the road.”

Retail on its way

The other element coming online soon at Hollywood Park is the retail component. The first phase of Hollywood Park’s retail district will total 500,000 square feet, with 320,000 square feet currently under construction and scheduled to open this summer. Hollywood Park’s tenants will include South L.A.’s Peace Love Reedburg; a new location for Mid-Wilshire’s Sky’s Gourmet Tacos; a second location for family-owned, Inglewood-based juice bar Antojitos Martin; a second Inglewood location for Residency Art Gallery; Three Weavers GRDN, the latest venture from Lynne Weaver, founder of Inglewood’s Three Weavers Brewing Co.; Cinépolis, a dine-in IMAX theatre; and the first public venue of Cosm, an experiential media and immersive technology company.

BCV Architecture & Interiors, Architects Orange and landscape architect Studio-MLA worked on the retail design.

Meany considers the area “a retail district that will really serve as a gathering point and a regional hub for quite a wide area around us. It’s going to serve as both a neighborhood heart and the center of a region.”

Office availability

CBRE Group Inc. Executive Vice President Rob Waller and his team led by Todd Doney, Bob Healey and Patrick Amos, are marketing the remaining space at the NFL Media building. Of the 500,000-square-foot building, the top three floors are available, totaling 165,000 square feet.

“We are in discussions with tenants who would take the balance of the remaining space,” Waller said. “It’s very exciting and I think it’s going to be great for the overall project.”
Waller said the type of tenants who have shown interest are media, technology and entertainment companies.

 

Hollywood Park aspires to become top-of-mind for renters.
christopher meany
Wilson Meany

 

“We really feel like we’re creating a new submarket in some ways having the retail, the residential, the hotel, the office, the stadium and having all that together combined with the open areas and the walking paths, it creates a tremendously unique environment for tenants,” Waller said.

Waller said he enjoyed taking part in the marketing of Hollywood Park.
“It’s tremendously exciting,” Waller said. “I think this is transformative for the Los Angeles area. It’s the largest mixed-use urban project in the western United States. There aren’t that many opportunities to create brand new submarkets where you have all of these things that are custom designed and purpose built and can be built in a thoughtful way that will meet the desires of the tenants of the future.”

The Crosby lobby.

The Inglewood impact

The project’s impact is expected to expand beyond its property line.
“The stadium project does two things. It brings people for events. But the surrounding it’s bringing permanent jobs, it brings in tax revenue for the city and it brings in housing. It’s using the space very effectively,” John Loper, associate professor of real estate at the USC Price School of Public Policy, said.

In a city like Inglewood, which historically has not had a lot of big retail development, it’s bringing in new opportunities.
“From a tax basis, it’s going to be good for the city but also for spurring new businesses,” Loper said.

Inglewood Mayor James Butts noted that the Hollywood Park complex has already become a great economic boost for the city of Inglewood.

In 2011, nine months after Butts was elected mayor, Inglewood was struggling.
“It had a 7.5% unemployment rate,” Butts said. “We were going to drain our reserve funds because we were upside down in our general fund by September of 2011.”

Everything has turned around with the incoming sports venues. Last year, the Hollywood Park complex brought $18 to $20 million to the city in tax revenue and thousands of jobs.

“What this project has done along with the Forum, it’s produced sales tax, parking tax and an increase in property tax revenue for the city,” Butts said. “The construction phases of both projects had 35% local hire goals built into the agreement. The SoFi project alone had 3,200 people a day come to work there, 35% of them were Inglewood residents. Pre-pandemic, it dropped our unemployment to 4.7%. We went from probably the highest in the state to one of the lowest unemployment rates for a minority-majority city in the country.”

SoFi Stadium has created 30,000 jobs in the various phases of construction and before Hollywood Park is completed, it will create 50,000 to 60,000 jobs over its build out, Butts said.

An aerial view of Hollywood Park.

“One of the things that’s been very important to us whether it’s during the construction phase or during the operation of Hollywood Park as a whole is to have a positive local impact on the community,” Gannon said. “You look at it in terms of sales tax that’s being generated but also the job creation and economic development. We had over $750 million worth of contracts that were awarded to local minority business owners. We have over $120 million of contracts awarded to local Inglewood businesses during the construction of SoFi Stadium. Those numbers have continued to increase as we brought on board our residential and retail contractors. That’s not only during the construction phase but also the operation of the stadium and Hollywood Park.”

Rendering of an office at Hollywood Park.

Businesses quintupled

While some believe that having a sports entertainment center is detrimental to small businesses, “we found the opposite to be true,” Butts said. “Our request for business license permits for small businesses have quintupled over the last three years. Our sales taxes have grown enormously, including the portion associated with small businesses.”

Butts noted the ripple effect of companies and organizations setting up shop in Inglewood.
“Because we have that stadium, we attracted the attention of the L.A. Philharmonic,” Butts said. “The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles — 35,000 strong — they left Marina del Rey to come here. The NFL Network left Culver City to build a 455,000-square-foot building here. YouTube came here and partnered and opened the YouTube Theater. Showtime leased 110,000 square feet in the north end of the city. Nike and Dwight Howard have invested in our parks. The Dodgers Field of Dreams program, which is going to renovate 75 baseball fields in the county, five of those renovations will occur in Inglewood. Two of them have been done already.”

The city of Ingelwood did not pay any incentives to the developer of Hollywood Park. All of the capital was raised by Kroenke and his group.
“The only thing we will pay for and we haven’t paid yet are legitimate city costs but we didn’t pay any of the development costs,” Butts said.

Butts does not see any issue with traffic produced by those attending events at the 70,000-seat SoFi Stadium, the 17,505-seat Kia Forum and the upcoming Intuit Dome, which will have 18,000 seats.
Gannon considers competition from neighboring stadiums as a positive.

“Anytime you bring these types of venues with the events, they have whether it’s the Forum to the north or the Clippers at the new Intuit Dome to the south, that opportunity to increase traffic at Hollywood Park for our retailers,” Gannon said.

Butts said systems will soon be in place to alleviate traffic. “We have an intelligent traffic system now, it’s called the ITS, it was funded by the project and Los Angeles World Airports (the city department that owns and operates Los Angeles International) to coordinate our signals with Los Angeles along Century Boulevard and Manchester (Boulevard). So we have more technological resources than we did before.”

Moving people

There is also the upcoming People Mover project.
“We’re also putting together the money for $1.4 billion transit connector to connect the T Line station at Florence and Market Street to travel above Market Street, above Manchester, above Prairie (Avenue) with stops for the venues,” Butts said. “It would move about 12,000 people an hour and have a dramatic impact on traffic because what it would do, it would change the concept of the Metro lines from an esoteric thing that’s nice for people who don’t have cars to a must-have for people who want to get to this entertainment district.”

Butts outlined the possibilities once the People Mover comes together.
“You could fly straight into LAX, get on the People Mover, have it take you to the K line, take it to the Inglewood transit connector, go to see your game, get back on the transit connector, go back to the airport,” Butts said.

The goal is to complete the People Mover project by 2026 or 2027, in time for the 2028 Olympics, which will hold its opening and closing ceremonies at SoFi Stadium. SoFi Stadium hosted Super Bowl LVI last year. Inglewood also has Wrestlemania and NCAA football coming to the city this year, the Clippers next year and the World Cup in 2026.

“There’s only three cities in the history of this country that have had so many events and so many sports teams and that’s San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles,” Butts said. “But what we’ve done in seven years took them a generation.”

“The most exciting part for me is just the dynamic of the fluid nature of the project as we’re going from events … to opening up retail spaces and having office users here on site throughout the year,” Gannon added. “The Hollywood Park development is the largest urban mixed-use development under construction west of the Mississippi and to be a part of that every day and watch it change every day is exciting.”

Paola Mendez
Paola Mendez
Paola Mendez graduated from Los Angeles Valley College, then transferred to University of California, and now serves as a Receptionist and Office Assistant to the Los Angeles Business Journal. Paola wears many hats in different departments and is trilingual in English, Spanish and French.

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