S.E. Williams | Contributor
The Clippers recently unveiled additional details and renderings of its privately financed sports and entertainment center anchored by the team’s new basketball arena in the City of Inglewood.
“My goal is simple,” explained Clippers Chairman Steve Ballmer. “I want the Clippers to have the best home in all of sports. “What that means to me is an unparalleled environment for players, for fans, for sponsors and for the community of Inglewood”
He expounded, “Our goal is to build a facility that re-sets fans’ expectations while having a transformative impact on the city we will call home.”
The Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center is expected to revitalize mostly vacant land under the flight path of the Los Angeles International Airport and transform it into what will hopefully be a vibrant campus. In addition to the arena, the campus will include team’s business offices, basketball offices and training facility, as well as both community and retail spaces.
The arena as proposed will have a three-dimensional oval design with a unique exterior of diamond-shaped metal panels inspired by the concept of a basketball swishing through a net. In addition to the aesthetics, the panels are designed to provide solar benefit for maximum energy efficiency as part of the facility’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED is an internationally recognized third party building certification system focused on improving the environment through sustainability.
The Clippers campus is designed to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions through a combination of carbon offset credits and sustainable design features.
When Clippers’ officials unveiled the renderings and other details of the project, they highlighted what was identified as the facility’s “most striking” feature intended to highlight the temperate climate of Southern California—the integration of indoor/outdoor sky gardens for food and beverages. The sky gardens will be accessible from every concourse level.
The Clippers’ Complex also envisions a multi-purpose plaza that will include a concert stage, community basketball courts and space for the community to gather and watch everything from Clippers Playoff Games and movie premieres on a super-sized LED screen.
The same day the Clipper organization unveiled renderings and plans for the arena and its new campus it also welcomed new highly acclaimed players Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to the team. And in that regard, no one during their introduction appeared more genuinely excited than Ballmer. “I’m just delighted and so proud right now…,” he exclaimed. I’m pumped to say hello as Clippers to Paul and Kawhi.”
While Ballmer, the Clippers organization, their fans and the City of Inglewood celebrate what looks to be a very bright and mutually-beneficial future, New York billionaire and Jim Dolan CEO of the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) , who owns the NBA Knicks, the Forum in Inglewood and several other high profile holdings,is continuing to be pilloried in the media for his ongoing attempts to block the development of the new Clippers’ arena in Inglewood and in the process stymie the economic potential of the city itself because he fears the competition it presents to his multi-million dollar investment in the Forum.
Reports and court documents have detailed the obstruction efforts of Dolan and his partner(s) at MSG. The allegations range from funding an opposition candidate against Inglewood’s longtime mayor, James T. Butts Jr.; funding community groups to oppose the project; seeking to attract the Lakers back to the Forum as their home court and the list goes on.
One of what is purportedly one of his most spurious and outrageous accusations is his claim that—as alleged in Vanity Fair—’Ballmer and Butts double-crossed him after MSG spent a lot of money in Inglewood when few others were willing to do so.’
Although Dolan has continued to claim the contract with the city of Inglewood was exclusive and prevented similar venues from being established in the city it appears there was nothing in the MSG contract with the city that spoke to an exclusive arrangement.
Cross section of model for proposed new Clippers arena
Dolan continues to claim he was tricked, bamboozled and taken advantage of regarding the Forum contract even though evidence clearly states otherwise. “My position is that we invested $140 million and were the first ones to do so in Inglewood and that we had an agreement with the city, both in paper and in spirit, that the city would help us with that investment to make it successful,”
It appears rather than taking ownership for his failure and the failure of MSG to exercise judicious business acumen when negotiating the Forum contract with the City of Inglewood, Dolan has resorted to bullying tactics. In addition to some of his efforts detailed above he has sued not only the city of Inglewood but also Mayor Butts, personally—a personal suit prevents the city from paying for Butts’ defense.
While Dolan continues to fight against the mayor, Ballmer, the development of the Clippers arena, and by proxy—the city of Inglewood itself—plans for the new arena and its campus continue.
“Inglewood is a diverse, dynamic community blessed with a skilled workforce, emerging infrastructure and a bold economic blueprint for the future,” said Gillian Zucker, President of Business Operations for the Clippers organization.
Speaking directly to the Clippers proposed arena he continued. “In addition to the thousands of jobs this facility will create for the local community, we are equally committed to working with our new neighbors in the continuing renaissance developing in the City of Inglewood.”
The proposed Clippers arena complex will be located on West Century Boulevard between South Prairie and South Yukon Avenues.