- Associated Press - Monday, May 18, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Major League Soccer’s expansion Los Angeles Football Club plans to build a $250 million stadium on the site of the old Sports Arena next to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The 15-acre complex in Exposition Park would also include a conference center, restaurants, 130,000 square feet of plazas and streetscapes, and a soccer museum. At its center would be a 22,000-seat venue, home to the new MLS team when it makes its debut in 2018.

The plans were formally announced Monday at an on-site news conference where a rendering of the stadium was unveiled.

“We want it to be one of the cathedrals of soccer in this country and around the world,” said Henry Nguyen, head of the club’s 24-member ownership group. “This is going to be an intimidating, really tight, urban sound box stadium.”

The project still needs approval from the Coliseum Commission and the Los Angeles City Council.

Both panels, along with Mayor Eric Garcetti, have expressed support for the project, and approval is expected by July.

Construction would be financed by the team and its ownership group, which includes former Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson; Mandalay Entertainment Chief Executive Peter Guber, co-owner of the Dodgers and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors; self-help author Tony Robbins; and women’s World Cup soccer champion Mia Hamm and her husband Nomar Garciaparra, a former major league baseball all-star.

The planners estimated the project would create 1,200 construction jobs and 1,800 permanent operations jobs. The facility, which would also host concerts and festivals, was touted as a catalyst for economic development on Los Angeles’ south side.

The location is adjacent to the historic Coliseum, site of two Olympics and home field for the University of Southern California football team, as well as popular museums including the home of the retired space shuttle Endeavour.

It’s also just three miles down the Figueroa Street corridor from the downtown Staples Center arena.

“We’ve got a lot of champions here - USC football, the Lakers not too far away, the Kings, all of that,” Johnson said. “We want to be part of that championship row.”

MLS has long favored the area because of its proximity to downtown and public transportation.

When the Los Angeles Football Club begins play in 2018, the league will have at least 23 teams.

The club’s plans for an MLS soccer stadium follow the latest flurry of competing proposals for an NFL stadium in the Los Angeles region, which hasn’t had an NFL franchise since losing the Rams and Raiders after the 1994 season.

“Football is alive and well in Los Angeles,” said Councilman Curren Price, who represents the proposed LAFC site.

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