Nov 29, 2011

NFL at the Bowl?

City eyes temporarily hosting L.A. team

by Brenda Gazzar, Staff Writer - November 29, 2011

Rose Bowl construction continues Tuesday in Pasadena. (Walt Mancini Staff Photographer)


Pasadena - City officials will conduct a complete Environmental Impact Report on the Rose Bowl and Arroyo Seco if they believe with “a high degree of confidence” that the NFL plans to return to the region.

But, city officials acknowledged they could move forward with the proposed EIR “without knowing definitively whether a team is going to move (to Los Angeles) or not,” said Rose Bowl CEO and General Manager Darryl Dunn in a meeting with reporters and editors of this newspaper.

“Honestly, there is going to be a risk,” Dunn said.

A construction worker works next to 60-foot rebar that will be part
of a foundation wall at the Rose Bowl as construction continues Tuesday.
(Walt Mancini Staff Photographer)

The proposed EIR would not be complete before 2013, Dunn said.

City officials have touted the stadium as a temporary home for the NFL, but have met some resistance from neighbors.

The decision to do an EIR came less than two weeks after the Linda Vista/Annandale Association board declared it had “voted unanimously to oppose any occupancy of the Rose Bowl stadium by the NFL.”

The vote called on city officials to conduct a “full EIR.”

City Manager Michael Beck said officials would conduct a new EIR rather than a less extensive environmental review, such as an addendum to a 2005 EIR.

The city, however, would only conduct the EIR if it had “a high degree of confidence" an NFL team was available to relocate to Los Angeles, Beck said.

The City Council would use that new EIR in considering whether to increase the number of large events allowed at the stadium per year - something that would be required for the NFL to play there, Beck said.

While the city is not currently in negotiations with the NFL, Beck said that temporarily hosting an NFL team would stimulate the local economy at a time sales tax revenues are down to 2003 levels. It could also plug, he said, a $16 million financing gap in the stadium's $156 million renovation.

In addition, there would need to be “a real revenue opportunity for both the stadium and the city.” Officials would also need to know who would pay for the document and how, he said.

A new EIR would likely cost between $200,000 and $300,000 and cover a finite period of time, Beck said.

The EIR would likely include traffic and other environmental impacts yet to be determined, Beck said. The decision to conduct a new EIR was made after a traffic study and analysis of that area was recently completed.

Both Industry's Grand Crossing project, touted by billionaire developer Ed Roski Jr. of Majestic Realty, and entertainment giant Anschutz Entertainment Group's proposed Farmer's Field in downtown Los Angeles are vying to bring the NFL back to the area after a 16-year absence.

Majestic representative Ben Porritt said they've had discussions with “several local facilities, including the Rose Bowl,” to serve as the interim location to a franchise while a stadium is under construction.

The Linda Vista/Annandale Association, in a Nov. 18 letter to city officials, called for a full EIR “to study and mitigate to the greatest extent possible all project impacts from the 'temporary' NFL team in the Rose Bowl,” including traffic, parking, game scheduling, land use, noise and public safety.

“We want a very good, top-flight consultant to prepare this EIR,” Nina Chomsky, a LVAA board member, said Tuesday.

Secondly, “we expect at least two scoping sessions” for the community to list topics it believes should be covered in the document, she said.

Chomsky said she intends to make that request at a special community town hall meeting for Linda Vista residents that Councilman Steve Madison will host from 6:30 to 8 p.m. tonight at the Rose Bowl Media Center near Lot F.

The City Council in 2005, as well as voters in a 2006 referendum, opposed a failed initiative that aimed to grant the NFL use of the Rose Bowl as a permanent home.