There is room to debate whether local football fans would have preferred the Oakland Raiders to relocate to Los Angeles rather than the San Diego Chargers, but it was clear last week that one fan was happy no matter who made the move.
“Who says lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice,” Inglewood Mayor James Butts said in an email. “We welcome the Chargers with open arms and look forward to supporting both teams. The presence of the Chargers will enhance traffic coming through the region.”
The National Football League team last week exercised an option to move to Los Angeles and join Stan Kroenke’s Inglewood stadium development. The project, currently under construction, is part of a deal negotiated last year that resulted in the Los Angeles Rams moving from St. Louis. Had the Chargers opted to stay in San Diego, the option would have transferred to the Raiders.
The $2.6 billion stadium is the latest – and largest – development in the city that has experienced a building boom after not long ago hovering on the brink of bankruptcy.
Restored musical venue the Forum opened next door to the stadium site in 2014, the Hollywood Park Casino recently reopened in a new space, 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.
The Chargers’ much anticipated decision came a few weeks after news that the team was looking at Costa Mesa as a potential base of operations. It had agreed to lease office space and a land parcel in the Orange County city, contingent on committing to Los Angeles.
With that decision now made, the deal will stay in place for the Chargers to lease 101,000 square feet of office space at the Hive at 3333 S. Susan St. as well as a 3.2-acre land parcel next door slated to house practice and training facilities.
Jeff Marks, president of sports marketing firm Premier Ventures in Los Angeles, said the yearlong wait to pull the plug on San Diego helped the Chargers make the best choice to ensure success on and off the field.
“The Spanos family exhausted all options and were diligent in their evaluation of the opportunity,” he said. “It’s no different than when a CEO of a Fortune 500 company has to make a difficult decision that is in the best interest of shareholders, customers, and employees.”
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