Downtown Lives as Sports Developments Revitalize Once Obscure Area

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor L.A. has struggled during the past two decades with the identity of a major city that couldn’t call any part of itself “Downtown.” But times have changed, and a new NFL stadium will do much to [...]

L.A. has struggled during the past two decades with the identity of a major city that couldn’t call any part of itself “Downtown.” But times have changed, and a new NFL stadium will do much to attract more people to the city’s center.

After securing $600 million by signing the name rights to Farmers Insurance – the stadium will be dubbed Farmers Field – a $1.2 billion proposed development is nearing validation, with the actual getting of a football team being one of the easier parts. The legacy of the Rams and Raiders will hopefully continue, since the venue for this future NFL franchise’s home will be part of one of the most comprehensive game changes a U.S. city has seen in recent years.

The stadium is not yet ready for a touchdown, however. While NFL approvals are set and a huge part of the necessary financing has already been secured, a series of hurdles remain in AEG’s path to create a football franchise that all Angelenos can be proud of.

The move that launched the area’s revitalization was undoubtedly Staples Center, which capitalized on the city’s love for its most celebrated sports team. The Lakers were instrumental in the downtown’s revival, and now football seems to be taking the reins from basketball as the flagship for its makeover.

The area already owes a great deal to another colossal AEG development: namely, L.A. Live. The $2.5 billion entertainment complex offers 4 million square feet of space that have turned the area adjacent to Staples Center and the L.A. Convention Center, once a non-community where you went to because you HAD to, into a vibrant 24-hour community.