$1.2B plan proposed to expand LA Convention Center, make it part of LA Live campus

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Although the L.A. convention center sits right next to LA live, the two have long felt like separate entities, not part of the same entertainment campus.

AEG has proposed a $1.2 billion expansion that would change that by attracting larger, more prestigious conventions.

"There are a number of large conventions from across the country that would love to be in Los Angeles, but can't be here because of the size of our convention center. Mostly medical groups and technology organizations that are forced to go to other places," said Doane Liu, executive director of the convention and tourism department.

The plan would add up to 350,000 square feet to the existing halls. In addition to modernizing the facilities, a $700-million addition to the JW Marriott Hotel would add 850 rooms to downtown.

"We really need to be closer to 8,000 rooms. We're currently at about 5,000 rooms. Compare that to San Francisco which has 24,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of their convention center," Liu said.

The JW expansion would include a 51,000-square-foot ballroom that would make it the largest in the city.

AEG is still in the negotiation phase with the city, but the current plan is for the project to be funded through a public-private partnership. AEG would finance the project and gain revenue from the new hotel rooms receiving a break from the city on hotel bed taxes.

This isn't the first time AEG has approached the city with a convention center expansion. The last plan was centered around building an NFL football stadium where the west hall stands but it fell through after the stadium didn't attract a team to downtown.

"It's going to provide jobs. It's going to provide resources, supporting small businesses, local businesses, minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses. So we're excited because it will be a real economic engine that can benefit not just the ninth district, not just the city, but can be a regional multiplier," Councilmember Curren Price said.
Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.