The Los Angeles City Council approved environmental impact reports Friday that pave the way for a new soccer-specific stadium for the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), which will open Major League Soccer play in 2018.
The new 22,000-seat stadium will be ready in time for LAFC’s inaugural season and will replace the Los Angeles Sports Arena, which is scheduled for demolition this summer, the team said.
Designed by Los Angeles-based architectural firm Gensler, the project will include more than 100,000 square feet of new restaurants, office space, a conference center and a world football (soccer) museum, according to LAFC, which released new renderings of the stadium. The development is expected to bring more than $250 million in private investment to South Los Angeles.
LAFC executives worked with officials from the city and state, the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission, the California Science Center Board and the University of Southern California — which manages the LA Sports Arena site — on a series of environmental, entitlement and infrastructure reviews over the past 18 months.
“We are excited to bring innovation and creativity to L.A. and deliver on our commitment to bring a state-of-the-heart experience to the community,” Peter Guber, LAFC executive chairman and owner, said in a statement. “Together with city leadership and city staff, we listened to and received input from the community in order to put forth a comprehensive plan that sets new standards for all future stadium projects.”
LAFC will give MLS a second team in Los Angeles for the second time. The LA Galaxy play at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., about 10 miles south of downtown L.A. Chivas USA also used to play in Carson before it folded in 2014. At the time, MLS announced a new team would replace Chivas USA with the ownership group that now runs LAFC.
“As part of our new strategy for Southern California — a major hotbed of soccer participation and fan support — we believe that engaging with a new ownership group which has the resources and local community ties, and a plan for a dedicated soccer-specific stadium, provides us with the best chance for success," MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement in 2014.
The LAFC ownership group consists of 27 members, including Guber, Managing Partner Henry Nguyen, President Tom Penn and international soccer club owners Vincent Tan and Ruben Gnanalingam. Other owners include NBA legend and Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Earvin “Magic” Johnson, actor Will Ferrell, women’s soccer legend Mia Hamm Garciaparra and her husband, former Major League Baseball All-Star Nomar Garciaparra.