Monday, April 20, 2009
McCourt Moves Development Firm To LA, To Start Building On Dodger Stadium Property As Early As This Year
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.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.
Work on the project, called the Next 50, could begin at the end of this season.
Prepare yourself, kids. The theater is gonna get ugly.
Update 4/21: Thanks to Jon for the link.
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.