Furthering its bid to construct a new arena in Inglewood, the Los Angeles Clippers organization has submitted an application for a program that streamlines litigation under the California Environmental Quality Act.

The program, established eight years ago under AB 900, allows lawsuits brought against so-called "Environmental Leadership Development Projects," to proceed more swiftly through the court system.  The program is open to infill developments that are valued at $100 million or more, and meet a number of other targets relating to sustainability and environmental impact.

The Clippers venue, part of a broader project dubbed the "Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center," would be centered on an 18,000-seat arena with space for up to 500 temporary seats near the intersection of Century Boulevard and Prairie Avenue.  Other components of the project include:

  • an 85,000-square-foot practice and athletic training facility;
  • 71,000 square feet of office space for the Clippers organization
  • a 25,000-square-foot sports medicine clinic,
  • 63,000 square feet of ancillary retail.
  • a public plaza;
  • a 150-room hotel; and
  • two parking structures.

A site plan included with the application, which was prepared by AECOM, shows the proposed arena with a trapezoidal footprint, set back from Century Boulevard behind the retail space and the public plaza.  The larger of the two parking structures would be located on an L-shaped site on the east side of Praire, and could be connected to the arena and plaza through a pedestrian bridge.  The hotel would be located on a separate property to the east of Doty Avenue, directly across the street from the Hollywood Park Casino.

A construction timeline forecasts a 36-month buildout of the arena and ancillary functions, with project completion to occur in 2024 - the year in which the Clippers' current lease at Staples Center is set to expire.

The arena is already the subject of a lawsuit from a potential competitor - Madison Square Garden Company.  MSG Co., which purchased the nearby Forum arena in 2012 and converted it into a fulltime convert venue, previously leased the land now slated for a Clippers arena for use as excess parking.  MSG Co. has alleged that Inglewood Mayor James Butts convinced them to forfeit its rights in order to facilitate the construction of an office park, but instead gave the land to the Clippers to construct a competing venue less than one mile away.

However, it's not clear how helpful ELDP designation under AB 900 will be for the Clippers project.  Lawsuits against another a proposed NBA arena in San Francisco notably failed to make it through the courts under the time constraints imposed by the legislation.

Though ambitious in scale, the proposed NBA arena is far from the largest project on the horizon in Inglewood.  Just across Century Boulevard, construction is underway for a $5-billion mixed-use development including offices, housing, retail, and the future home of the NFL's Los Angeles Rams and Chargers.

The City of Inglewood is also pursuing the construction of a new people-mover system which would connect the NBA and NFL venues with the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Downtown Inglewood.