HomeNewsLocalLA City Council to Consider Proposal to Renovate Convention Center

LA City Council to Consider Proposal to Renovate Convention Center

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday is expected to consider a proposal to modernize and expand the downtown Convention Center in preparation for the 2028 Olympics.

Council members will vote on whether to spend up to $54.4 million for preconstruction work on the facility, but some officials have recognized the tight timeline the city would face to complete the project. The preliminary work will help the city determine if the remodeling project can actually be done in time — and if the result shows it can’t then elected leaders will have the ability to pull the plug on the project.

The council’s Tourism and Trade Committee, as well as the Budget, Finance and Innovation Committee previously approved the proposal in June.

“…(We) came up with an alternative,” Chief Legislative Analyst Sharon Tso told the budget committee on June 26. “Originally, it was supposed to be a design, build, finance, operations and maintenance agreement with the joint venture in the interest of time because we could not get all of those things done.”

“We pivoted to a design-build option, and those discussions have led us to this path. It’s a very narrow path toward completing construction by March of 2028,” Tso added.

If the Convention Center project is feasible, the city would pay for the construction but the work would be done through a private-public partnership with Anschutz Entertainment Group, which operates the center, and development firm Plenary Group.

In a joint report by the Tso and Chief Administrative Officer Matt Szabo estimated the cost for the project to be $4.7 billion over a 30-year period, which includes debt incurred.

The Convention Center proposal would ensure that none of the existing facilities be demolished, and the new construction would connect some of buildings, adding 190,000 square feet to exhibit hall space, 55,000 square feet of meeting room space and 95,000 square feet of multipurpose space.

Szabo explained that, if the project is approved, the expansion would generate nearly 7,500 new jobs, ongoing 2,100 new jobs after the project is complete, and bring in an additional half-a-million attendees. The project would yield $165 million in new spending each year, and over a 30-year period it would generate approximately $570 million to the city’s general fund as a result of business, sales, parking, and hotel taxes, as well as ad revenue generated from digital signs.

According to Szabo, the new revenue would lower the cost to the city to about $43 million a year.

“There is significant work that needs to be done over the next six months before construction can begin and to determine whether the construction can be completed on the timeline,” Szabo said.

Szabo and Tso emphasized that they don’t have “a lot of room for error on this” because the city cannot be in construction during the Olympics or else risk losing events to outside the area.

“We believe that, if it is the desire to have construction done by March of 2028, if not sooner, that this is your only path,” Tso said.

The convention center is scheduled to be the venue for boxing, fencing, taekwondo and table tennis during the Summer Olympics.

Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, a member of the budget committee, said she appreciated Tso’s commitment to get this project going, but reminded her colleagues of the financial “realities” the city is facing, as well as the timing. Rodriguez had voted against the project.

“When you talk about this new deal, and I just want to frame it for everybody, because these are taxpayer dollars,” Rodriguez said. “This is not Monopoly money.”

During committee meetings, business leaders, as well as some labor unions, urged city officials to move forward with the convention’s expansion.

“The expansion of the Los Angeles Convention Center is not just a building project — it’s an investment in our city’s future. This initiative will create and sustain thousands of permanent jobs, providing a much-needed boost to our local economy,” Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association said in a statement issued in June.

“By expanding our convention facilities, we’re opening the door to major events that have previously overlooked Los Angeles. This project will put us on par with other major convention destinations, driving tourism and economic growth across L.A.,” Waldman’s statement continued.

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