Now more than a decade after a failed attempt to couple an expansion of the L.A. Convention Center with an NFL stadium, new environmental reports published by the Planning Department details a proposal by AEG and Plenary Group that could finally bring the long-proposed project to reality.
The Convention Center project, as Urbanize first reported in July, is comprised of five different components:
- a new exhibition hall built over Pico Boulevard between the existing South and West Halls, with a lobby off of Pico;
- a new West Hall lobby and potentially a pedestrian bridge above Chick Heart Court linking with the J.W. Marriott hotel complex;
- a renovation of Gilbert Lindsay Plaza to add new greenery and recreation space;
- the construction of a new parking garage at Bond Street to replace an existing surface lot; and
- enhancements to Pico Boulevard - including new lighting, wider sidewalks, bus and vehicle drop-off space, and potentially a mid-block crossing.
Plans for a Convention Center approved in 2012 in concert with the long-scuttled Farmers Field project had called for a net increase of roughly 1.8 million square feet of space across the site, including roughly 37,800 square feet of new space within the Convention Center and 1.7 million square feet of space connected to the stadium. That plan had called for the removal of the aging West Hall, as well as the demolition of a portion of the South Hall.
Modified plans call for a more modest expansion of roughly 700,000 square feet, representing a roughly 45 percent increase in the total size of the facility. Of the resulting 2.2 million-square-foot complex, more than 1 million square feet would be exhibition space.
Populous is designing the expansion, which would include an exhibit hall, meeting spaces, multipurpose spaces, and other supporting services within a building ranging from 92 to 150 feet in height.
Likewise, Gilbert Lindsay Plaza, located at the intersection of Pico Boulevard and Figueroa Street, would be revamped from a visitor drop-off zone and transformed into a park-like area with water features, public art, a cafe, and an amphitheater. Olin is serving as the project's landscape architect.
The hotel expansion, which would be developed concurrently (though technically as a separate project) calls for the construction of a 37-story hotel tower at Chick Hearn Court and Georgia Street that would feature 861 guest rooms above a conference center with 228,000 square feet of meeting rooms, multipurpose space, and other functions above an existing parking garage.
Gensler is designing the hotel tower, which would rise approximately 450 feet in height, and include a large amenity deck and - as is permitted by the specific plan which sets land use regulations for the Convention Center and surrounding parcels - roughly 20,900 square feet of signage.
The new tower, if completed would make the J.W. Marriott and Ritz Carlton complex the second largest hotel in California, with more than 1,800 guest rooms. Pending approvals, construction is expected to occur over a three-year period.
The current plan for the Convention Center, which was estimated to cost $1.2 billion in 2018, follows several attempts failed expansion attempts. In addition to the never-built Farmers Field, AEG previously considered developing a parking lot on Olympic Boulevard with a 755-room annex to the J.W. Marriott in 2016, only to abandon the project within a year. The City of Los Angeles also pursued a standalone expansion that was abandoned after forming a partnership with Crytpo.com Arena owner AEG.
The proposed development would also represent a significant boost to the number of hotel rooms within walking distance of the Convention Center - a lack of which has been blamed for lost business at the facility. Members of the City Council have previously considered a nine-figure financial incentive package to aid in the project's construction.
- Los Angeles Convention Center Archive (Urbanize LA)