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If Not a Football Stadium, Warehouses for Grand Crossing

A reality check on the proposed NFL Grand Crossing Stadium. Taking time and making space to smell the roses.

Today, Weeks Roses went on the auction block. So say reliable sources of the esteemed wholesale grower with its hybridizing operation at the Cal Poly Greenhouses. To everyone who has ever dedicated their working life to make the world more beautiful, I dedicate this post to you.

In 1996, the former fighter pilot, John Semcken III took on primary responsibility for identifying, analyzing and negotiation a site for a sports and entertainment complex to house Los Angeles’s professional sports teams. This intimate involvement with the creation of the Staples Center means he knows that of which he speaks.

In a candid conversation with Mr. Semcken this afternoon, the vice president of Majestic Realty was asked if the land the project is proposed to sit on does not become a stadium, will it be allowed to lay fallow waiting for the economy to improve. A quick chuckle was followed by a swift reply, quite to the point, “I don’t think so.”  If it were not for the stadium option being a real contender, “ground would have already broken.” on the entitled alternative.

My experience with former military is that while tact may not be a strength, honesty is. What the two projects represent are stand alone, competing visions with incompatible land use elements. It will be one or the other. Neither is not an option.

Setting aside the value to the company, the value of $762 million a year in economic activity is significant. 12,000 construction jobs lead the economic stimulus, followed by an anticipated $323 million in salaries divided by 6,735 full-time jobs are estimated to follow. 

Comparing the Grand Crossing stadium's projected impact to the already entitled project with industrial components, the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) concluded that the NFL-inclusive project would generate 71,000 less car trips per week. The maximum number of days for the intense use of the stadium  is 45.

My vision of reality is I would rather be impacted on 45 days than during all 52 weeks of the year. 

A councilperson’s reality is not just the physical impact on the community, but as fiduciaries, on the financial impact in revenues generated on behalf of the community. Other writers have thoroughly gone over this. Some people will never believe that anything other than bad happens from change. I am not one of those.

I believe change can be good when care is shown in implementation. In giving up what has been a long-standing view of bucolic paradise, it is my strong desire that a new way is found to express our heritage. 

We have a rich history of agricultural activity in the San Gabriel Valley. My vision, not just on this project, goes beyond the architecture and activities. What I dream of is greater celebration of our climate through horticulture (plantings) and public art.

There are many visions of paradise. But don’t all have gardens?  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Julia Nelson May 24, 2011 at 08:48 PM
I understand that development will take place on the property, that it will not remain vacant land. And I'm willing to take warehouses over the stadium. When I talked of the EIR, there was one done several years ago for the property. Normally, when a new project is proposed, a new EIR must be conducted. However, the landowner was able to get a special state law passed that stated a new EIR was NOT required. So whatever environmental findings were made are out of date. Would a new EIR have made any difference? We'll never know, because in this case, money talked, and what walks is being spread all over us.
Lydia Plunk May 24, 2011 at 09:05 PM
Julia, You sound to be a very thoughtful and reasonable person. I hope that however this turns out, you make it through the construction phase and find peace with whatever neighbors come. For what it is worth, the EIR conclusions are out of date only if conditions have changed. I do believe that if underlying conditions had changed there would have been no exemption. If anything is to be blamed for the exemption- it is the economy. This is anecdotal- but I haven't seen any studies suggesting it isn't true on a macro level. My friends and relatives are moving not because they don't like living here. They are leaving because of a lack of jobs, high tax rates and high cost of living.
Michael May 24, 2011 at 10:14 PM
Julia, you are so right. A proper EIR would be SIGNIFICANTLY different: trucks going from the site to the 60 FWY from 7AM to 6PM vs. 71,000 cars cutting through Walnut from the 10 FWY on the weekends and AFTER business hours. Plus, most professional truck drivers are not drunk- a measurable percentage of people leaving an NFL game are impaired- Google it. Warehouses don't have BLIMPS or loud HELICOPTERS flying over them either, trucks don't emit light pollution like a stadium, and drivers usually don't riot, shall I continue? I wouldn't worry about this stadium being built though, the NFL told John Shempken to stop using the Los Angeles name- I think that says it all.
Julia Nelson May 24, 2011 at 10:20 PM
Yes! I forgot about the blimps and stuff. They're pretty loud, too.
Julia Nelson May 24, 2011 at 10:24 PM
We'll never know if EIR conditions are out of date, because a new study wasn't done. After a 30-plus-year career of newspaper reporting and editing, I don't know that I could ever trust a developer or city official when the money starts flying.

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