Study warns about Inglewood project

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

LOS ANGELES -- A report commissioned by the developer of a downtown Los Angeles football stadium warns that a rival project nearby could be a potential terrorist target because of its proximity to Los Angeles International Airport.

The report was released Friday at a time when several potential stadium projects are competing to bring an NFL team to Southern California, two decades after the Rams and Raiders exited.

The 14-page report was commissioned by Anschutz Entertainment Group, which wants to build a stadium in downtown Los Angeles. A development venture linked to St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke has proposed a stadium in Inglewood, about 10 miles from downtown.

The report by former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge finds that constructing an 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood -- as close as 2.5 miles from an airport runway -- "materially increases the risk of a terrorist event."

Ridge concluded that in a world in which terrorism is a recognized threat, "the peril of placing a National Football League stadium in the direct flight path of (the airport)" ... outweighs whatever benefits it would bring over its lifespan.

The Hollywood Park Land Co., which is developing the Inglewood site, declined comment.

AEG told the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the study, that "we have been working diligently and in good faith ... to advance NFL discussions while also exploring plans for other development alternatives around the LA Live campus."

According to the Times, the league took no position on the study.

"We feel that the best approach is to look at these things with an independent eye," Eric Grubman, NFL senior vice president and the league's point man in the L.A. market, told the Times. "You should assume the NFL has its own experts hired and at work to assess any potential NFL site, in any city, regarding these matters. And it is that advice that we will rely on."

Aviation experts and city officials have said an Inglewood stadium would not be a safety concern, the Times reported.

The Los Angeles area has become the hottest market for stadiums in the country, although the NFL must approve any plan for relocation, a lengthy and complex process.

The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers announced last week that they are planning a shared stadium in Carson, also in the Los Angeles suburbs, if both teams fail to get new stadiums in their current hometowns. Another stadium has been proposed in the city of Industry, near Los Angeles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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