St. Louis‘ NFL franchise, the Rams, left Los Angeles in 1994. Twenty years later they’re mulling a move back, but not without a fight from the residents of their new Midwestern home. Last week plans for a new arena on the banks of the Mississippi River upped the ante, promising Rams fans 64,000 seats and an open-air stadium designed by HOK and 360 Architecture that a city-appointed task force called “the crown jewel of the reinvention of St. Louis’ city center”.
After years of, ahem, false starts, it’s looking very possible that the NFL will be returning to Los Angeles. According to the LA Times, St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who bought 60 acres next to the Forum in Inglewood last year, has announced plans to build an HKS-designed 80,000-seat stadium and a 6,000-seat performance venue as part of the 300-acre Hollywood Park site.
While the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering moves ahead with its competition for a $350 million renovation and expansion of the Los Angeles Convention Center, the NFL is threatening to make those plans obsolete. According to NBC Sports, a league source has confirmed that the NFL will send one or even two teams back to LA within the next one to two years. Two favorites include the St. Louis Rams and the Oakland Raiders. If the NFL comes to town then AEG’s plans for a new downtown stadium (by Gensler) and convention center expansion (by Populous) may follow. Of course a team could just as easily move to a site being floated near Hollywood Park, in Chavez Ravine, and in City of Industry. As of now the city has shortlisted AC Martin/LMN, Gensler/Lehrer Architects, and HMC/Populous for the convention center. No word from the Bureau of Engineering at this point. Stay tuned as we try to make sense of all this.
Twin Cities sports fans may be most excited about Sunday’s victory on the field, but a twinge of that satisfaction could be due to the team’s new stadium. Minnesota’s Sports Facilities Authority chose HKS architects to design a new home for the NFL’s Vikings.
HKS also designed Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and Cowboys Stadium in their home base of Dallas—two of the most high-profile NFL construction projects in recent memory. A decision on the lead contractor for the project has yet to come down, but news of the $975 million stadium’s designer is the latest announcement in a long and at-times contentious political process that subsidizes professional sports in Minneapolis.
Face-painted fans turned out to city council meetings as the deal cleared hurdles. With respected stadium architects on board, supporters may anticipate validation for their use of public funds. Those opposed maintain only time will tell, no matter the designer.