Steve Ballmer, the recently woke owner of the Clippers, has been trying to get his team out of the arena that they share with the Lakers for some time. He bought the Clippers during the summer of 2014, and every year since then, he’s talked about the possibility of leaving with a rising sense of urgency. In 2015, he brought up the fact that the Clips were lowest on the arena’s totem pole and by the summer of 2016, he was reportedly scoping out sites for a new building. Which brings us to this week, in which Ballmer has taken the most serious steps towards building a new arena.
According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, the Inglewood city council will vote tonight on whether or not to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with a Ballmer-owned company called Murphy’s Bowl LLC regarding the construction of a new arena for the Clippers to play in. The deal would open a three-year window where the Clippers could conduct environmental reviews of the arena site and prepare for construction, and, per ESPN, it is expected to pass. The project would be completely privately funded and the city would receive $1.5 million in exchange for the lengthy evaluation time period. After that, it’s up to Ballmer to buy the necessary land, which won’t be that simple.
If the arena moves forward, the Clippers would purchase the land — bounded by Century Avenue to the north and Yukon Avenue to the east — from the city, the Inglewood Successor Agency and third parties. The land is currently occupied by an assortment of businesses including a storage company, auto detailing shop and motel.
The agreement doesn’t disclose how much the Clippers would pay Inglewood for their land. And it tiptoes around the third parties who would need to sell their land in order for the stadium to move ahead, describing them as “potential participating parcels” and broaching the possibility of “eminent domain proceedings.” Those parcels make up around half of the site, according to a map attached to the agreement.
The arena site would be very close to the new Chargers and Rams arena, although Stan Kroenke is not affiliated with Ballmer’s efforts. No matter how the vote goes tonight, the Clippers will continue sharing an arena with the Lakers for at least a few more years. They are reportedly negotiating the terms of their lease with their current landlords, Anschutz Entertainment Group, and the lease runs through 2024.
Update (4:05 p.m. EDT): The Inglewood city council has unanimously approved the measure.