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Arena Venture to Seek Entertainment District

April 20, 1999|JESUS SANCHEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The owners of Staples Center and a nearby hotel Monday said they have joined forces in an important step toward the development of a 28-acre entertainment district adjacent to the new sports arena in downtown Los Angeles.

A partnership formed by L.A. Arena Co. and the owners of the 195-room Holiday Inn City Center northeast of Staples Center will ensure that future development on the site fits into a master plan for the entertainment district, according to arena spokesman Michael Roth.

The hotel and adjoining lots include valuable frontage along Figueroa Street, where arena executives and city officials envision a retail and entertainment complex designed to capitalize on the thousands of visitors who will be drawn to events at the 20,000-seat arena. Staples Center, which is next to the Los Angeles Convention Center, is scheduled to open in October.

The owners of the $375-million arena also are studying the feasibility of building a major convention center hotel immediately north of the sports complex. That land initially will be used as parking for the sports facility, which will be home to three pro teams.

Construction of Staples Center and the prospect of a new hotel and entertainment district have triggered a rash of rumors about other potential development in South Park, as the area around the arena is known. Some landowners have taken their properties off the market in apparent speculation on rising values, according to people familiar with the area.

"There is a lot going on; it's an exciting time for South Park," said Michael Pfeiffer, executive director of South Park Stakeholders Group, an organization of property owners and institutions in the area. So far, however, the partnership between the arena and hotel owners is the only solid evidence of any potential new development spilling over from the sports complex. The master plan for the entertainment district is expected to be completed this summer.

Under the deal announced Monday, L.A. Arena, owned by Ed Roski, Philip Anschutz and Fox Group, will serve as limited partner, according to Roth. The owner of the hotel, Los Angeles-based Emerik Hotel Corp., will serve as managing partner.

Emerson Glazer, chairman of Emerik Hotel, which will continue to manage the property, said the 35-year-old hotel will soon launch a renovation of all rooms, restaurants and the lobby.

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