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The Real Deal Los Angeles

The $1.2B convention center expansion needs $100M in city support: report

Controller concerned if taxpayer funds are properly serving development
November 13, 2018 03:26PM

AEG is seeking city subsidies to build new tower for the JW Marriott hotel and to help expand the L.A. Convention Center.

The owners of L.A. Live want to transform the city’s convention center. But they need the public’s help to make up a budget shortfall.

A $1.2-billion project proposed by Los Angeles-based Anschutz Entertainment Group would add 850 hotel rooms and expand the L.A. Convention Center by 350,000 square feet, the Los Angeles Times reported. But AEG needs $119.4 million to close a “feasibility gap,” and they are asking the city to chip in about $100 million.

The project is aimed at attracting more conventions to L.A., which has long lagged in attracting large events, according to the Times. City leaders have complained that existing facilities are too small and poorly laid out.

City Controller Ron Galperin expressed concern about whether the city’s contributions to development are being properly used. L.A. has signed off on about $1 billion to help development since 2005, but lacks a process to determine whether the money has been well-spent, the controller reported in August.

The majority of the project would be financed by AEG and Plenary, an Australian-based infrastructure investor and developer. The city would not have to raise public debt to pay subsidies, but would pay yearly to AEG-Plenary’s partnership after the project. Revenue shares from the center, sales of signage rights, concessions, and parking would help offset the city’s costs.

If the project wins the support of the the Economic Development Committee, it would advance to the full council for a vote. [LAT] – Gregory Cornfield