The developers of the new Staples Center arena downtown have tapped an architect and land-use specialist to sculpt plans for a major entertainment district on 23 acres nearby.

Ted Tanner, who previously worked on master plans for Los Angeles International Airport and Union Station, said possible projects for the site include a major convention hotel, retail shops, restaurants and entertainment establishments.

"I've just begun the process of master planning the future of the property around the Staples Arena," said Tanner, who was named vice president of real estate for the L.A. Arena Co. "Our goal is that the entertainment district will become a new anchor and destination for both downtown and the region."

The 23-acre area north and east of the arena is in the process of being purchased by the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency. L.A. Arena Co., which is co-owned by Ed Roski and Philip Anschutz, has committed about $18 million toward that acquisition, Tanner said. Once the CRA has acquired the land, it will turn the property over to L.A. Arena Co.

In the short term, most of the area will be used as parking lots for the arena after it opens in October 1999.

Eventually, however, L.A. Arena Co. is looking to develop a major convention hotel on that property, in addition to other establishments aimed at serving sports fans, conventioneers and other visitors to the area.

Tanner said other options include developing portions of the site, selling some of the land, or creating joint ventures. "It's really premature to tell," he said.

Tanner and the CRA will jointly develop the master plan, which faces environmental review and City Council approval. If the green light is given, construction could begin in less than three years, Tanner said.

"Our goal is to reinforce the Figueroa Corridor as a major spine to the city," Tanner said. "It connects the cultural facilities on Bunker Hill and the main core of the financial district with USC south of the (10) freeway, and Exposition Park."

Before taking the job with the L.A. Arena Co., Tanner was vice president at Landrum & Brown, the lead aviation consultant to the city of Los Angeles on its proposed expansion of L.A. International Airport. Tanner worked on the conceptual layouts and master plan for air cargo facilities and access to those facilities.

Before that, Tanner was vice president for Catellus Development Corp., where he helped develop a master plan for Union Station. He also managed construction of the nearby Metropolitan Transportation Authority headquarters and the MTA Plaza.

Tanner first got to know L.A. Arena Co. partners Roski and Anschutz when he was promoting Union Station as a potential site for the arena on behalf of Catellus. At the time, Roski and Anschutz were trying to bring the arena to a property near Union Station.

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