L.A. Clippers get final city approval to build Inglewood arena

INGLEWOOD, Calif. >> The Los Angeles Clippers have received final approval from the Inglewood City Council to begin construction on their new arena next summer.

The Clippers today announced city council approval, along with a joint deal to buy public property on the arena for $ 66.25 million.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is building a privately funded 18,000-seat arena along with a practice facility and corporate offices for his NBA franchise, which the downtown Staples Center has shared with the NHL’s Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings since the opening in 1999.

Ballmer plans to open its new arena in 2024, immediately upon the expiration of his team’s lease at Staples Center. The Clippers plan to break new ground on the project estimated at $ 1.2 billion by 2021.

The Clippers immediately opened a waiting list for season tickets in their new arena. The naming rights to the project currently called the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center are already being sold worldwide in a partnership with CAA Sports.

“Today is a new chapter for the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center as we move out of the land use law process and look at construction,” said Gillian Zucker, President of Clippers’ Business Operations, in a statement. “Every part of IBEC is designed with purpose – with a non-apologetic intensity that together will define the experience for players, musical talent and fans. This arena will prove beyond any doubt that there is no substitute for live basketball and entertainment. “

Inglewood’s approval was expected for a project that claims to create 1,500 full-time jobs and $ 100 million in tax revenue during the company’s first 15 years of existence.

The only major obstacle to Ballmer’s plans to date has been the Madison Square Garden Company, which owned the venerable Forum just north of the Clippers proposed site. MSG sued Governor of Inglewood, California, Gavin Newsom, and the state legislature for slowing Ballmer’s progress, apparently for fear of competition for concerts and other events.

Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft with an estimated net worth of about $ 75 billion, solved that problem in March by buying the Forum for $ 400 million in cash. He says he will continue to operate the famous’ 80s Showtime Lakers home as a live music venue.

The arena site of the Clippers and Forum are separated only by SoFi Stadium, the new $ 5 billion football arena, and the surrounding development, built by Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke. SoFi Stadium kicks off Sunday with the season opener of the Rams against the Dallas Cowboys.

When the new home of the Clippers is built, four main arenas – SoFi Stadium, which has a 6,000-seat stage in addition to the main football stadium – will be a mile apart.