The City of Inglewood has kicked off the environmental review process for a proposed arena that could be the future home of the Los Angeles Clippers.  A notice of preparation issued this week offers up new details on the heretofore mysterious project.

The Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center, which is being developed by Clippers owner and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, would be highlighted by an indoor arena containing up to 18,000 fixed seats for NBA games and capacity for up to 500 additional temporary seats for non-basketball events.  Other components of the project would include an 85,000-square-foot practice facility, approximately 55,000 square feet of office space for the Clippers, a potential 25,000-square-foot sports medicine clinic for team and possible public use, and 40,000 square feet of retail and ancillary uses such as community space.  Additionally, an approximately 260,000-square-foot plaza featuring landscaping, outdoor basketball courts, parking and other gathering spaces are planned within the development.

The Clippers currently play their home games at the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and have their office space located nearby.  Those uses, as well as the existing practice facilities in Playa Vista, would be relocated to the proposed Inglewood development.

The project would rise across a handful of vacant and sparsely developed properties lining the south side of Century Boulevard, with the proposed arena and ancillary uses slated for an amorphous site at the southeast corner of Century and Prairie Avenue.  Additional parking facilities are slated for two vacant lots on the opposite side of Prairie, while a parking facility and potential hotel could rise to the east towards Yukon Avenue.

Besides basketball games, the notice of preparation also states that the proposed arena could host 100 to 150 concerts per year.

Completion of the proposed Clippers arena would mark a significant comeback for Inglewood, which was rocked by the departure of both the Lakers and the Kings in the late 1990s.  The current revival was sparked by the reactivation of the vaunted Forum as a concert venue by the Madison Square Garden Co., owner of the New York Knicks and the iconic Madison Square Garden.  This was followed by plans for the redevelopment of the former Hollywood Park racetrack, which will be home to an NFL Stadium housing both the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, as well as a mix of commercial and residential uses.

Nonetheless, plans for the Clippers venue have not been without controversy.  Madison Square Garden Co. filed a lawsuit against the City of Inglewood last year, arguing that Mayor James Butts had convinced the organization to give up its rights for overflow parking on the Century Boulevard parking lots to facilitate the development of an office park, not a venue that would compete with the Forum for events.

News of the impending environmental report was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.