Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to adopt a plan that will expand the convention center by 300,000 additional square feet of exhibition space, additional meeting room space totaling about 75,000 square feet and a new 45,000-square-foot ballroom, the largest in the Los Angeles area.
This plan moves ahead despite the city’s hope of coupling the expansion with a new football stadium, which hinged on a deal made in 2012 with developer Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) to attract an NFL franchise.
After learning talks with the NFL had yielded little progress, city officials voted without discussion to approve the expansion, allowing the convention center to compete for larger events and conferences. In light of other California convention centers already moving forward for expansions, such as Anaheim, San Francisco and Sand Diego, the pressure is on.
Frequently referred to as Plan B, the vote approval kicks off the beginning of a seven-month architectural and design competition to win the upgrade bid. Participants have also been asked to identify an area for a new, privately-developed hotel to be located next to the convention center.
The city will narrow the competition down to three for the bid to be awarded in January 2015. The top three design teams will be awarded $200,000 to prepare models, plans and other showcase documents.
City officials would have the ability to cancel the competition at any time should the NFL decide to relocate a team to Los Angeles, according to a report prepared for council members.