Three possible designs for downtown L.A. stadium revealed

LOS ANGELES -- Developers of a proposed NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles unveiled renderings of three possible designs for the sports and convention complex at a news conference Wednesday.

AEG, the company that owns LA Live and Staples Center downtown, showed off the drawings by three architectural firms that made it to the final round of the design selection process.

Tim Romani, president of the project management firm ICON Venue Group, promised the football stadium and new facilities at the Los Angeles Convention Center would come in at less than $1 billion -- including the cost of expanding and modernizing the convention facilities -- and wouldn't require taxpayer money.

Los Angeles Football Story

Southern California has been the home of many professional football teams, from the L.A. Buccaneers in 1926 (a traveling team that never actually played in Los Angeles) to the XFL champion L.A. Xtreme in 2002. The Avengers were the last active team in L.A., but the team folded last year.

Teams that have called Southern California home
Years Team League
1926 Los Angeles Buccaneers NFL
1940-45 Los Angeles Bulldogs PCPFL
1940-42 Hollywood Bears PCPFL
1943 Los Angeles Mustangs PCPFL
1944-45 Hollywood Wolves PCPFL
1946-1994 Los Angeles Rams NFL
1946-49 Los Angeles Dons AAFC
1960 Los Angeles Chargers AFL
1967 Long Beach Admirals Continental
1967-68 Orange County Ramblers Continental
1974-75 Southern California Sun WFL
1982-1994 Los Angeles Raiders NFL
1983-85 Los Angeles Express USFL
1988 Los Angeles Cobras Arena
1996-97 Anaheim Piranhas Arena
2000-09 Los Angeles Avengers Arena
2001 Los Angeles Xtreme XFL

The plan includes tearing down the convention center's West Hall and rebuilding within a year. AEG said it's negotiating with the city to build new convention space connected to the newer South Hall.

"Stadiums belong downtown. The most successful stadiums and arenas are downtown," Romani said. "The stadium fits on this site, whether it's oriented north-south or east-west."

One of the designs unveiled Wednesday, by the Gentsler firm, featured a pillowy, oval-shaped stadium. Another by HKS had elegant sweeping curves that wrap around the building. The design by HNTB had two tent poles framing the opening in the retractable roof.

AEG said it will decide on a design in the next month.

The project managers looked at recently built stadiums in Dallas, Denver, and Glendale, Ariz., and determined they could build a seismically sound stadium with a retractable roof for less than $1 billion.

Majestic Realty Co. is planning a separate football stadium in the City of Industry, about 15 miles east of downtown.

Majestic officials questioned if AEG's budget for a stadium with 72,000 seats and 218 suites is realistic.

"Flashy renderings can't disguise AEG's call for taxpayer dollars at a time when California is broke," said John Semcken, Majestic's vice president.

Romani said the new stadium would be ready for the start of football season in 2015, and AEG plans to lure a team to Los Angeles within the next three months.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the most important factor in the success of a new stadium in Los Angeles would be the league reaching a new labor agreement with the NFL Players Association before the Super Bowl.

"I don't think it's a coincidence that we have not had a new stadium built since we entered into this collective-bargaining agreement in 2006," Goodell said. "The economics of being able to build a stadium in the Los Angeles market are a challenge."

The proposed downtown project would break ground in 2012, after the annual Los Angeles Auto Show in late November.

Ted Tanner, an executive with AEG Real Estate Development, said a stadium and expanded convention center would bring new and exciting events to downtown, like the NCAA Final Four in basketball, stadium concerts and trade shows.

Including Staples Center and the LA Live hotel and retail complex, the proposal would bring some 100,000 contiguous acres of downtown under AEG's management.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press