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L.A. City Council takes up NFL stadium topic

February 2, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The Los Angeles City Council talks "financial reality," and takes the first step toward approval of a professional football stadium in downtown Los Angeles. That stadium would be built near Staples Center, where the L.A. Convention Center now stands.

Tuesday, officials spoke about the new stadium they envision in downtown Los Angeles. The convention center would be knocked down. AEG says it's paying for the new stadium. Some city officials want to make sure of that.

A new stadium and an NFL team is a dream for Los Angeles. Wednesday, the L.A. City Council is dealing with the reality of this huge project.

L.A. City Council members voted to set up a committee to carefully study the financial details and to make sure taxpayers aren't left footing any part of the bill.

AEG already runs Staples Center and L.A. Live. To build the stadium downtown, the west hall of the L.A. Convention Center would be demolished.

However, there is still a debt of $445 million on the Convention Center and the question is who would pay for that. AEG has promised no cost to the city.

Whitley Collins is a real estate expert at Jones Lang LaSalle in downtown Los Angeles. He says it's a very complicated transaction that might require the city's help.

"Can we pull that off without the city spending any money?" said Collins. "And that's what people right now don't know. If you look at all the costs, and you look at what's involved at making this happen with knocking down the Convention Center, I don't see how this happens without the city spending money."

And that could be a deal-breaker for some city council members. They say there are still many questions unanswered.

"If we're going to do something, we need to make sure it's not going to affect the taxpayers in a negative fashion. We need to make sure the bond indebtedness is taken care of, because there's still bond indebtedness from the money that was put forward to build the Convention Center in the first place," said Zine.

The city and AEG will start talking. Negotiations will take months, and even if everything goes according to schedule, there won't be a new stadium in L.A. at the earliest until 2015.