Po­ten­tial suite own­ers get glimpse of fu­ture

Fa­cil­ity of­fers a pre­view of $2.6-bil­lion In­gle­wood sta­dium even­tu­ally to be shared by Rams, Charg­ers.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Nathan Fenno

The fu­ture of pro­fes­sional foot­ball in Los An­ge­les is tucked away on the fourth floor of a glass-en­cased of­fice build­ing near the 405 Free­way in Playa Vista.

Two white doors slide open like the en­trance to an amuse­ment park ride. In a dark­ened room, vis­i­tors face a floor-to-ceil­ing video wall that of­fers fan­tas­tic res­o­lu­tion. Be­tween dizzy­ing aerial views of the re­gion and thump­ing mu­sic, the pitch un­folds to be part of the $2.6-bil­lion sta­dium Rams owner Stan Kroenke is build­ing in In­gle­wood.

The sta­dium, cen­ter­piece of a 298-acre sports and en­ter­tain­ment district that will in­clude a ho­tel, re­tail, of­fices and hous­ing, won’t be com­pleted un­til 2020. In the mean­time, the first po­ten­tial suite own­ers and spon­sors are get­ting a glimpse of the project in­side the 20,000-square-foot pre­miere cen­ter.

“This is on a dif­fer­ent scale be­cause ev­ery­thing about what Stan is do­ing is on a dif­fer­ent scale,” said Chris Hibbs, chief rev­enue of­fi­cer for the L.A. Sta­dium and En­ter­tain­ment District. “This project is big and dif­fer­ent in all pos­i­tive ways.”

Last week, Hibbs and his staff started sell­ing the first group of 125 suites — the sta­dium will in­clude more than 260 suites across seven va­ri­eties — and guid­ing wouldbe buy­ers through the cen­ter. This top-tier batch of suites will be com­mit­ted for all Rams and Charg­ers games at the sta­dium in ad­di­tion to non­foot­ball events.

When the in­tro­duc­tory video ends — there are in­di­vid­ual ver­sions for the Rams and Charg­ers plus one that’s team ag­nos­tic — doors pivot open be­hind guests to re­veal a sprawl­ing model of the project. That’s the tra­di­tional cen­ter­piece of a pre­view cen­ter for a new or ren­o­vated sta­dium. This model is dif­fer­ent.

It’s ar­ranged in three pieces across a 1,200-square­foot space. De­sign­ers be­lieve it’s the big­gest such model con­structed in North Amer­ica; they needed a crane to hoist it into the build­ing. In­stead of the usual hand­crafted, static dis­play of a fu­ture sta­dium, this one func­tions like a gi­ant movie screen.

All the struc­tures are white, al­low­ing 12 pro­jec­tors to bring the model to life. Fans move in­side the sta­dium. The 120-yard video board dubbed the “ocu­lus” lights up. Cars zip along South Prairie Av­enue; there aren’t any traf­fic jams.

With the push of a but­ton, the foot­ball field trans­forms to a bas­ket­ball court for the Fi­nal Four or a soc­cer pitch. En­trances for VIPs are sin­gled out. Tiers of suites and dif­fer­ent parts of the cam­pus are high­lighted. Dif­fer­ent big-area venues — Dis­ney­land, for in­stance — are su­per­im­posed over the site to re­in­force the project’s vast scale.

If part of the devel­op­ment changes, a key spon­sor joins up or a busi­ness com­mits to lease space in the cam­pus, the model can be quickly up­dated.

The cen­ter has been used to sell com­pa­nies in­ter­ested in nam­ing rights and cor­ner­stone spon­sor­ships (noth­ing is im­mi­nent), the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee on L.A. host­ing the Games and by Kroenke’s real es­tate team dis­cussing pos­si­ble leases for busi­nesses on the site.

“It’s a holis­tic show­case for ev­ery­thing, not just the sta­dium,” Hibbs said. “That’s pretty dif­fer­ent.”

But foot­ball is the main at­trac­tion. De­sign­ers avoided fa­vor­ing ei­ther team. The beer tap han­dles at a bar, one topped with a Rams logo and the other with a Charg­ers logo, are the same length (the Rams’ is slightly larger be­cause of the shape of the team’s logo). A con­fer­ence room in­cludes iden­ti­cal man­nequins dressed in a full uni­form from each team. Much of the fur­ni­ture is a shade of blue that could be linked to the Rams or Charg­ers.

There are more sub­tle touches. Over­sized bot­tles of wine from the Hilt and Jonata, high-end Cal­i­for­nia winer­ies owned by Kroenke, dot the bar and other ar­eas.

The key stop for po­ten­tial suite own­ers is a cir­cu­lar room with a floor-to-ceil­ing curved video board and four sta­dium-style seats in front. In­stead of build­ing mock­ups of all seven suite types, de­sign­ers found a dig­i­tal so­lu­tion. Con­trolled by a small tablet, the screen pro­vides an im­mer­sive walk-through of each suite. You can check out ev­ery­thing: field view, food, even the sink.

Prices for the suites, which hold as many as 30 peo­ple each, aren’t be­ing made pub­lic.

“This isn’t a build­ing or mar­ket that should have a whole bunch of car­bon copy rec­tan­gu­lar suite prod­ucts,” Hibbs said. “These range from re­ally large with dif­fer­ent types of spa­ces to re­ally in­ti­mate for a to­tally dif­fer­ent kind of com­pany or in­di­vid­ual.”

A few steps away from the cir­cu­lar room, an­other video board shows four live feeds of the sta­dium con­struc­tion in In­gle­wood. The site is a 12to 15-minute drive from the cen­ter, one of the key fac­tors in the de­ci­sion to lo­cate it in Playa Vista af­ter con­sid­er­ing sev­eral lo­ca­tions and even a mo­bile ver­sion.

The cen­ter will op­er­ate through the open­ing of the sta­dium. It will serve as the cen­ter of the cam­paign for per­sonal-seat li­censes and sea­son tick­ets that’s ex­pected to start this fall.

“No­body’s ever done this be­fore,” Hibbs said. “You can’t just pick up a phone and call a friend or in­dus­try col­league with a dif­fer­ent team and say, ‘How’d you do this?’ ”

Wally Skalij Los An­ge­les Times

GREG KISH, vice pres­i­dent of sales and ser­vice for the Rams’ sta­dium project, checks out a model of the mas­sive com­plex. Vir­tual tours are be­ing used to mar­ket sta­dium suites to po­ten­tial buy­ers.

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