While sports fans are excited about football’s return to Los Angeles and a forthcoming stadium in Inglewood, real estate industry players are capitalizing on the momentum by filling the untapped market for housing, offices, retailers, and entertainment venues in the city.
The projects, some underway and others on the drawing board, have the potential to transform Inglewood into an investor’s darling just a few years after the city hovered on the brink of bankruptcy.
Stan Kroenke’s Hollywood Park Land Co. is poised to anchor the changes with an estimated $2 billion stadium that will leap onto the world stage when it hosts the Super Bowl in 2021. A theater, hotel, office campus, shopping and dining district, and parks will fill the rest of the 300-acre site. The restored Forum opened next door in 2014, and the revamped Hollywood Park Casino is scheduled to reopen this fall. A 300-home project is in the works across the street, and plans are in progress to build a mixed-use development at the end of Market Street in Inglewood’s downtown. The Crenshaw-LAX light-rail line is slated to tie things together with three stations opening in the city.
Inglewood Mayor James Butts sees the Forum’s packed calendar as a sign of domino effect already underway.
“Entertainment is a key element of cities that are going to prosper,” he said. “If you have entertainment, you have people and cars. With people and cars come cash, credit cards, and debit cards.”
Hollywood Park is poised to be another catalyst as the largest privately financed construction project in the United States.
“There will be thousands of jobs and billions of local spending in Inglewood that would not have occurred if the dying horseracing business at Hollywood Park had been left intact,” said Terry Fancher, executive managing director at Stockbridge Capital Partners, a partner in Hollywood Park Land.
But developers haven’t been able to spike the ball just yet: One remaining challenge is ensuring that people visit Inglewood more than the roughly 10 days a year that the Los Angeles Rams will play each season. Even if the San Diego Chargers choose to join the team in the stadium, the number of game days would only reach 20.
“They really need to focus on what’s going to draw people outside of the stadium,” said Joe Clarke, director of commercial real estate at Keller Williams Silicon Beach. The developments should also be in sync with the needs of long-established families and businesses.
Getting the recipe right might just be a matter of time. Real estate professionals in local markets expect Hollywood Park’s proposed 2,500 housing units to be an important draw given the rising rents and house prices in Westside and South Bay neighborhoods.
“You’ll find professionals interested in being able to buy or rent something new and contemporary, with a parking garage, landscaped streets, and the lake,” said Bob Healey, a CBRE senior vice president. “It’s the biggest thing to happen in L.A. since Playa Vista.”
Office tenants, in turn, might be eager to nab one of the few sites in Los Angeles that would provide newly built housing, shopping, and dining within a walk or a bike ride. The opportunity to lease within Hollywood Park’s 780,000-square-foot office complex comes as Westside companies have been squeezed by Silicon Beach’s high rents and quickly evaporating space.
Kevin Demoff, chief operating officer for the Rams, said companies are already expressing interest, particularly to join Kroenke’s vision for Inglewood as a whole.
“We’ve had a number of conversations with people talking about moving their headquarters,” he said in a recent interview.
While retail leases have yet to be inked, CBRE Vice President Jamie Brooks said the shopping area would resemble Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade or Glendale’s Americana at Brand.
Inglewood can already count on its proximity to the beach, the airport, and neighborhoods stretching across the Westside and even to downtown Los Angeles.
“It didn’t become a good real estate play because of football,” Brooks said. “It’s always had potential.”
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