For the first time since the 1994 NFL season, it seems almost certain that there will be a Los Angeles-based team playing in the league.
Recent developments in City of Industry, CA, just 15 miles east of L.A., have made this prospect much more likely. Ed Roski’s Majestic Realty Co., located in City of Industry, has been campaigning to build a 75,000-seat stadium there for several months, with the plan having faced a January bond measure ballot (approved 60-1 among the city’s 82 voters) and at least two lawsuits from nearby communities.
As recently as last week, City of Industry agreed to pay the nearby city of Walnut $9 million dollars, plus an annual sum of anywhere from $350,000 to $500,000 depending on reports, for environmental concerns raised in the city’s suit, in return for no further blockage of the plan for the $800 million dollar stadium. The agreement also includes proposed construction of a Metrolink platform near to the stadium, and City of Industry’s commitment to build a new firehouse close by as well.
There remains just one last lawsuit standing in the way of the plan, this filed by a group of Walnut residents called Citizens for Community Preservation Inc. In its suit, the group raises concerns similar to Walnut city’s, specifically regarding traffic noise and safety issues related to the proposed stadium. Negotiations between this group, City of Industry and Majestic have been ongoing but broke down on September 23.
No decision has yet been made on the team that would make this move to L.A., and to date, the NFL has been tight-lipped about which team may be most likely to move to the new stadium, instead noting that the organization is watching developments in the region and will embark on a decision-making process once all legal hurdles are passed.
“This is Roski’s and Majestic’s project, and not ours,” said Brian McCarthy, spokesperson for the NFL. “We are monitoring all stadium developments in the LA area, and Mr. Roski has kept us up to date on the project. As we’ve said for fifteen years, we would like to return, but only under conditions that make sense for the community and the long-term interests of the NFL. We, both L.A. and the NFL, have thrived since the departure of clubs in the area, and we think both could be even better with an NFL franchise there.”
The L.A. area has not seen an NFL team since the Raiders returned to Oakland and the Rams moved to St. Louis following their 1994 seasons. But interest in having an NFL team which called L.A. home never really died. In 1999, the NFL came close to putting an expansion team in L.A., but it gave the franchise to Houston instead. Four years ago, officials in L.A. and Anaheim made overtures to the NFL to lure a team back to the region. Venues considered for such a return included the Raiders’ old home, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and a stadium proposed for the parking lot of Angel Stadium of Anaheim, a former home to the LA Rams.