Proceeds from the ads below will be donated to the Bob Wuesthoff scholarship fund.

Monday, April 20, 2009

McCourt Moves Development Firm To LA, To Start Building On Dodger Stadium Property As Early As This Year

In the LA Land blog:
Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today said he has moved his real estate company, John McCourt Co., from Boston to Los Angeles and hired veteran real estate executive Geoffrey Wharton as president. McCourt Co.'s holdings include nearly 300 acres in Chavez Ravine, where the Dodgers play baseball. Wharton's first task will be to complete the city entitlement process for McCourt's planned $500-million makeover of Dodger Stadium that McCourt hopes will transform the ballpark by 2012 into a year-round destination for dining, shopping and recreation. The project, announced last year, would include parking structures, a Dodgers history museum and a landscaped plaza behind centerfield connecting to shops and restaurants.

Work on the project, called the Next 50, could begin at the end of this season.

That pretty much settles what the McCourts intended to do with Dodger Stadium, or at least, the land surrounding it. And it also implies something else: if you live on any of the streets needed to get out of that neighborhood, you're about to be forced into a fight with City Hall the likes of which the city hasn't seen since Chavez Ravine was first depopulated. There is simply no way that McCourt can work anything out with his neighbors given how tight access to the stadium is now. That implies a couple of things, but foremost among them is improving access, whether that's by widening of streets or providing rail lines to the park. To do that, houses have to be bought. Since McCourt hasn't got the money to take on a capital project like that, it's pretty obvious he'll have to run this through City Hall for eminent domain. And in the post-Kelo world, the city can do anything it likes... even take property from one person and give it to another for strictly commercial use.

Prepare yourself, kids. The theater is gonna get ugly.

Update 4/21: Thanks to Jon for the link.

Labels: ,

Actually, California voters passed a ballot initiative reigning in Kelo. Owner-occupied properties cannot be taken and given to another private party. This doesn't help renters, of course, but it is a limitation.
The ballot initiative was toothless, however. Prop. 99 passed with 63% of the electorate, but it still allows for things like street improvements (which is what McCourt would have to be fishing for, as I said in the article text). (It also says nothing about taking business-owned property away from one person and giving it to another, or as you say, renters.) So I expect that's where this battle will be fought.
Is access to Dodger Stadium any worse than access to downtown LA for LA Live or access to the Universal Citywalk? Or any outdoorsy mall-type area? I think this can work just fine, without any new inconveniences to the peopl who live around the stadium.
Yes, it's quite a bit worse. I may expand on that later.
I'll put it this way: the covenant the Dodgers have with the neighborhood and the city expressly forbids them from even expanding Dodger Stadium, so when they added the foul ground seats a couple years ago, they had to remove an equivalent number of seats from the outfield bleachers.
Access to Live LA isn't quite so bad if you have a subway near you. Even if your in the San Fernando Valley, there's ample free parking at both the North Hollywood and Universal Stations. The only thing truly missing from City Walk access is a Tram/Escalator/Shuttle from the subway station since you have to go up a pretty steep hill. Pretty doable if you're able-bodied and don't want to deal with traffic and pay for parking.
I'm no engineer but can't really think of a straight route from Union Station to the ballpark where you can lay down some tracks for light rail.
Probably the back door across the Amador St. bridge. There's a decent number of houses there, but there's very convenient access to the existing rail line not too far away on Alameda just below.

Post a Comment

Newer›  ‹Older
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

WWW 6-4-2