“It’s a tiny patch of a city in Los Angeles County’s sprawling 4,752 square miles and home to about 110,000 people. It sits just beyond the runways of Los Angeles International Airport, between the San Diego Freeway and the Century Freeway and within the touch of ocean breezes.” That’s a poetic description of Inglewood, the L.A. county town that played former host to the 1980’s “Showtime” Lakers, current host to a burgeoning hip hop scene, and now suddenly finds itself at ground zero of perhaps the biggest real estate question in Southern California: Will the arrival of the NFL’s Rams transform Inglewood’s “streets lined with strip malls and gritty auto body shops” into a mecca of community revitalization and neighborhood renewal?
It’s a question increasingly asked all over the L.A. basin by news outlets like the Daily News and L.A. Times, respectively), and by speculators, investors -- and the residents already living in and around Inglewood. The question, of course, is sparked by “the construction of a new 80,000-seat stadium complex and ‘NFL Disney World,’ expected to become the world's most expensive sports arena,” as CNN describes it, spearheaded by “Rams owner and property developer Stan Kroenke, whose personal net worth is estimated to be $7.4 billion.”
Reaction has been swift. Not only have real estate agents and brokers been busy fielding queries about Inglewood since the announcement, but Patch of Land has also received quite an influx of questions on the topic. A RE/Max agent is quoted in the L.A. Times saying, “people are sharpening their pencils and seeing what they can do there. It's incredible."
The sports side reacted quickly too, with Eric Dickerson, the last great superstar of the Rams’ previous L.A. era Tweeting a “Welcome Home,” while former NFL quarterback-turned- commentator Matt Leinart Tweeted out straight to the Rams coach: “Hey Jeff Fisher I'll be working out here in the South Bay. Give me a call!#footballinLA#neighbors”
Leinart is among many sensing opportunity. An article in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune quotes a spokesperson for the Hollywood Park Land Company, owners of the property, as saying “there will be significant gains for the region. ‘The entire project will create a total of 40,000 jobs counting construction and ongoing operations, (costing) $1.86 billion to build the stadium. But the whole project is closer to $3 billion.’”
However, there are additional questions about the extent of the opportunities arising from the Rams deal. There is some evidence that “the economics of hosting a sports team are complicated,” as the NextCity website points out. Especially with an NFL team that might just play 8 home dates a year.
If the Chargers (or perhaps Raiders) join the Rams in sharing the venue, that doubles the number of home dates. And as the San Gabriel Tribune article observes, “having a stadium with a retractable roof also means the board’s partner organization, the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission, can actively pitch for ‘megaevents’ such as the NCAA Final Four and Super Bowl, events that yield ‘a large economic impact’ for Los Angeles and its residents.”
One ‘megaevent’ that might become likelier with a completed venue is L.A.’s own brewing Olympic bid, something that could provide both an economic “boon” and multi-generational nostalgia, with L.A. being the Rams’ former home and the host of the 1984 Summer Olympics.
As for the potential benefits of a fully modernized, 21st century stadium, the article cites the model of New England’s Gillette Stadium, which hosts numerous events -- and a soccer team -- beyond the regular (and recurring post!) season games of the Patriots.
And California has seen such previously mentioned “significant gains” play out before, particularly on the baseball side, where new downtown stadiums in both San Diego and San Francisco contributed significantly to the “reimagining” and re-energizing of immediate -- and nearby -- neighborhoods.
It’s precisely the formula that Patch of Land both promotes and is a part of: Belief, or commitment to an underserved area, in terms of either initial business investment or revitalized residential properties -- or both -- leading to a matrix of more jobs coming in, more tax revenues created, ultimately expanding infrastructure, and furthering opportunity.
Patch also likes asking questions that are still edge-of-radar, too, and one of those is to note that regardless of its effects, the Inglewood site won’t be ready until 2019. Until then, the Rams will be playing in the nearly hundred-year-old Olympic-built Memorial Coliseum, next to USC. What near-term effects will the Rams’ return have on that neighborhood, while the Inglewood complex is still being built?
Sometimes “vision” means being able to see what’s right in front of you -- not only for NFL quarterbacks, of course, but also “neighborhood reimagineers,” like Patch of Land.
The conversation about the Rams’ return has only just kicked off. We will keep you posted as it continues to unfold. In the meantime what are your thoughts on how the Rams’ return could impact the local area, economy or overall community sentiment? In the meantime, since we’ve completely outgrown our current space and are looking for a new HQ, we may just look into leasing in Inglewood, which averages about $1.60/sqft for office space - for now.