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LA Clippers unveil Inglewood arena plans

The Los Angeles Clippers NBA basketball franchise has revealed renderings and details of its planned new arena in Inglewood.

The arena would sit on a wider, privately-financed sports and entertainment complex, which would also feature the team’s business and basketball offices, training facility, community and retail spaces.

The Clippers have set a tentative opening date of 2024 for the 18,500-seat arena. The team’s lease at Staples Center, which it shares with fellow NBA team the Lakers and NHL ice hockey outfit the Kings, expires in 2024.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, the former chief executive of Microsoft, has repeatedly expressed his desire for the team to have its own arena in Inglewood. It is hoped the team can break ground on the arena, which would be based on mostly vacant land under the flight path of Los Angeles International Airport, by 2021.

Clippers chairman Steve Ballmer said: “My goal is simple. 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. Our goal is to build a facility that resets fans’ expectations while having a transformative impact on the city we will call home.”

The proposed arena features a 3D oval design with an exterior of diamond-shaped metal panels inspired by a basketball swishing through a net. The panels have also been designed to provide solar benefit for maximum energy efficiency.

The arena will also include indoor/outdoor ‘sky gardens’, which will serve as landscaped areas for food and beverages and will be accessible from every concourse level. Other features of the complex include a multi-purpose plaza with concert stage, community basketball courts and supersized LED screen.

The project is being developed by Wilson Meany, which specialises in mixed-use, retail, office and master-planned property development. The arena has been designed by Los Angeles-based architecture, engineering and construction management firm AECOM.

The Clippers said the project would create around 10,000 construction jobs and more than 1,500 permanent jobs. Locals would fill 30 per cent of available construction jobs and 35 per cent of the available arena operation jobs.

The team has predicted that the complex will generate around $268m (€241m) in economic activity for Inglewood annually, and more than $190m in new tax revenue from 2020 to 2045.

The arena would be built near the state-of-the-art NFL stadium currently being constructed for the Rams and Chargers.