After years of failed proposals and promises that never panned out, Inglewood is finally going to revamp its downtown district. For real.
The Inglewood City Council gave the green light on Tuesday to select Thomas Safran & Associates (TSA) as the developer of the D3 site. The 6 parcel site, which borders La Brea Avenue, Florence Avenue, Market Street, and Regent Street, will include residential and retail space. The renovation will compliment the future Florence-LaBrea train station, which will be part of the planned Crenshaw/LAX Metrolink project.
In July 2014, ten prospective bidders were invited to submit proposals, and five proposals were submitted in November. Despite TSA’s proven track record in bringing highly desirable tenants to new business developments, and paying prevailing wages to locals, the bidding process was attacked as “lacking transparency.”
A representative of Neighborhood Housing Services, one of the bidders on the site, said her agency has invested over $750 million in City of Inglewood housing developments. “Please don’t spend all your time looking at the stadium. You should be looking downtown,” she told the council.
New renderings of the Inglewood sports stadium were presented to the public in vivid detail. Mark Williams, sports and entertainment director for HKS, gave an overview, emphasizing how the design elements are integrated into the stadium’s functionality and Southern California lifestyle.
“We don’t need to do a building that looks like every other stadium when we can take advantage of the best climate in the country,” Williams said. Features include an oversized see-through roof, stadium bowl that is embedded 100 feet into the ground, and 360 degree accessibility. The stadium will be built to accommodate two teams.
Other features include multi-purpose capability to make the venue smaller or larger, depending on the event. A 6,000-seat performance venue is also planned.
“That was the most fantastic presentation I’ve ever seen anywhere,” said a smiling Mayor James Butts. “Do we really have to do this other stuff?”
The “other stuff” included a long list of city matters which the council voted unanimously to support:
· Budget amendments for Fiscal Year 2014-15
· Purchases of uniforms, professional services, and police vehicle outfitting
· Various public works projects
Three public hearings were set for citizen participation during the Fiscal Year 2015-16 Consolidated Plan process. Hearings will be held April 28, 2015 at 7pm, July 14, 2015 at 7pm and December 8, 2015 at 7pm. Another hearing was set to receive public comments on vacating segments of Railroad Place, Cable Place, Redondo Boulevard, and a portion of Florence Avenue. It will take place April 21, 2015 at 7pm.
Mayor Butts and Inglewood Council members gave a proclamation to a group of young people, in honor of Alcohol Awareness Month. Two students spoke about their efforts to keep themselves and peers in Inglewood alcohol free.
A commendation was given to DMVs “Donate Life California” blood and organ donation program. Currently, 123,000 people nationwide are on organ transplant lists. The need for organs is especially strong in African American and Hispanic communities. Anyone wishing to donate their organs can sign up on the Donate Life California Registry when they apply and renew their driver’s license or ID card. City Treasurer Wanda Brown said she donated her late son’s organs, which saved 12 lives.
In closing remarks, Councilman Ralph Franklin gave a shout-out to Morningside High School students recently recognized for maintaining grade point averages from 3.0 to well over 4.0.
Other council members addressed comments about city development. “I was chairman of the planning commission for 20 years,” said Councilman George Dotson. If you sit here today (and) you saw what to me is a dream come true for Inglewood, you could see how this project (has) evolved.
“Someone talked about a lack of transparency in the bidding process. Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Councilman Alex Padilla. “This was not something that was done overnight ; it was a process that began in July.”
Councilman Eloy Morales said although the D3 project was planned first, it had not been “put on the back burner.” The Forum renovation just happened to evolve first.
“We wanted it (D3 project) to move after the Forum was up and running,” Butts explained. “It changed the quality of submissions we received. The announcement that we were building a stadium only heightened interest in the city.”