The Real Deal Los Angeles

Clippers shoot for CEQA fast-track rule on Inglewood arena

State law expedites litigation for major 'leadership projects'
January 28, 2019 03:00PM

Blueprint for the stadium from Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, with Mayor James Butts and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer

The Los Angeles Clippers are vying to limit the time their new arena project could be stalled by environmental challenges in court.

The basketball organization applied to have its proposed 18,000-seat arena in Inglewood certified to streamline challenges under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

The fast-track process allows designated “leadership projects” to move more quickly through the judicial system, Urbanize reported. If approved, the courts would have 175 days to decide on any such challenge. Normally, CEQA litigation can last several months, or up to a year.

To qualify, the project must be valued at $100 million or more, and it must not result in additional greenhouse gas emissions.

The proposed arena near Century Boulevard would also include a practice facility, office space, a sports medicine clinic, retail space, and a 150-room hotel across the street from the Hollywood Park Casino. It would host preseason games, 41 regular season games, and up to 16 playoff games each year, and it could also be used for performances or civic events.

Construction is set to begin in 2021, and be complete by 2024 – when the team’s current lease at Staples Center expires.

The project has already been a target of lawsuits from affordable housing advocates and from Madison Square Garden Company. The company alleges Inglewood Mayor James Butts convinced them to forfeit land near its Forum arena to make room for an office park. Instead, Inglewood gave the land to the Clippers, less than a mile away.

Butts said the company gave up the land to settle a debt and dispute with L.A. Rams owner Stan Kroenke. [Urbanize]Gregory Cornfield