The more than decade-long effort to expand the capacity of the Los Angeles Convention Center hit a snag in 2020, when the global pandemic put a hold on large events - and the construction of venues capable of hosting them. That delay culminated in the expiration of an agreement with AEG and Plenary Group to deliver a new exhibition hall earlier this year, but a new motion aims to get the process restarted in short order.
A motion introduced on November 8 by Councilmembers McOsker and Curren Price calls for the City Tourism Department to put forth an extended exclusive negotiation agreement with AEG and Plenary Group, which would be scheduled for a vote at the December 5 meeting of the City Council's Trade Travel and Tourism Committee. That quick schedule, per the motion, is necessary as the Convention Center is scheduled to host events during the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic games, which requires that construction must be completed prior to the onset of the games.
The expansion calls for the addition of roughly 700,000 square feet of space in a new exhibition hall bridging over Pico Boulevard which would connect existing South and West Halls. The new construction would represent a roughly 45 percent increase in the total size of the Convention Center, expanding its total size to 2.2 million square feet, including 1 million square feet of exhibition space.
Other components of the project would include renovations of existing facilities such as the Concourse Building and South Hall, as well as the construction of a new West Hall lobby and a new parking garage at Bond Street. Outside of its walls, plans call for upgrades to the segment of Pico Boulevard which bisects the Convention Center, including new lighting, wider sidewalks, bus and vehicle drop-off space, and potentially a mid-block crossing. Gilbert Lindsay Plaza, the current drop-off area, would be transformed into a landscaped, park-like space.
Populous is designing the new exhibit hall, which would vary between 92 and 150 feet in height, matching the scale of the existing structures to the north and south.
A related project paired with the Convention Center expansion is a planned addition to the J.W. Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotel complex, which currently features just over 1,000 guest rooms in a 54-story just north of the Convention Center. A new 37-story tower featuring 861 hotel rooms planned at the intersection of Chick Hearn Court and Georgia Street would make Marriott the largest in the City of Los Angeles based on room count, and the second largest hotel in the state of California.
Los Angeles officials have sought to expand the Convention Center for more than a decade, first in concert with a never-built NFL stadium in 2011, and later as a standalone project in 2015. The current public-private partnership between AEG - owners and developers of Crypto.com Arena and LA Live - came about in 2016.
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