On Wednesday, the Inglewood City Council voted to enter into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) with the Los Angeles Clippers to pursue the development of a state-of-the-art NBA arena.
The 20-acre parcel, located on Prairie Avenue, south of Century Blvd., may become the Clippers’ permanent home.
The ENA establishes a three-year timeframe, during which the Clippers will develop the details of its proposed basketball facility. The City of Inglewood will evaluate the impacts of the construction and operation of that proposed facility. The site will likely include a state-of-the-art NBA arena, a training facility and team office space.
“Today’s decision by the Inglewood City Council is another win for residents and businesses in the City of Ingleood, and for sports fans throughout the greater Los Angeles area,” Inglewood Mayor James Butts said.
Gillian Zucker, president of business operations for the Clippers, said, “Since the day he purchased the Los Angeles Clippers, Steve Ballmer has been committed to giving our players, coaches, staff and fans the best experience on and off the court … going so far as to say ‘We will do whatever necessary to provide our fans and their families the best game-night experience in the NBA.’ Today, we have taken an important step toward that commitment.”
The proposed project will be 100 percent privately funded, no tax payer dollars will be used. The environmental review process will take approximately two years to complete. The Clippers’ seven-year lease with Staple’s Center will not expire until 2024.
Upon project approval, the Los Angeles Clippers will purchase, from the City and related municipal entities, the site proposed for the development. As required by law, the land’s purchase price will be the fair market value, as appraised based on its current zoning.
Upon signing the ENA, the Los Angeles Clippers paid the City of Inglewood $1.5 million, which will fund the City’s administrative costs. If additional funding is required, the Clippers will provide the necessary resources.
Zucker emphasized that the Clippers organization and City of Inglewood are “still very early in the evaluation process. We believe it will take two years to proceed through the City’s environmental review. And, for the next seven years, Staples Center will continue to be our home.”
Zucker said the agreement gives the team “options for the future.” According to a written statement, the announcement does not does not indicate that the Los Angeles Clippers are leaving Staples Center. Rather, the announcement is about keeping the team’s options open. According to a statement, “Staples Center is a great building, but if you look around the NBA, there are newer and greater buildings that are optimized for basketball.”
Easily accessible from the 405 and 105 Freeways, and minutes from LAX, Inglewood “is in the middle of everywhere,” Butts said. He added, “As we’ve proven during the last couple of years, the City of Inglewood is one of the most dynamic communities in the greater Los Angeles area.”
If the Clippers do make Inglewood their permanent home, the new arena will be within walking distance from the Forum and the new NFL stadium (currently under construction), which will house the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers.