Halos—or hoops? Mayor hints at interest in 13-acre Downtown lot

During his annual talk about the state of development in the city, Mayor Robert Garcia on Tuesday said that since talks with the Los Angeles Angels became public in February, the city has received a “flurry” of other interest from “major organizations and players.”

Whether the 13-acre plot of land along the waterfront winds up “a home run or a slam dunk,” the city is sure to attract a sports team, entertainment company or other top level venue, he said, without specifying any particular teams or businesses.

“The level and quality of interest is impressive,” the mayor said.

Garcia hinted last year that the site could host a baseball field, or a venue the size of Staples Center or L.A. Live, on the site, which is now used for surface parking adjacent to the Long Beach Convention Center. The site is known as the “elephant lot” from its days hosting the Ringling Bros. Circus.

The mayor said this week a visioning process for the entire Downtown shoreline area, known as “PD-6,” would commence in about 30 days. Meanwhile, talks with the Angels remain “active,” he said; the Major League Baseball team is also still in negotiations with Anaheim, where they currently play.

City officials expect to know by the end of this calendar year whether the team will remain in Orange County. Long Beach is the only other city the team has been talking with, the mayor noted.

Following this year’s Building A Better Long Beach speech at the Beverly O’Neill Theater, acting city manager Tom Modica said he could offer no specifics on interest from organizations—basketball or otherwise.

The Post broke the story in late February that Long Beach had approached the Los Angeles Angels about building a waterfront stadium, akin to Petco Park in San Diego or Oracle Park in San Francisco. This came after talks between Anaheim and the Angels broke down a year ago and the team opted out of its lease.

The City Council has discussed the potential for a stadium once in closed session. The talks between the Angels and Long Beach have so far resulted in a two-page draft of terms and conditions for a potential mixed-use development project.

This image from Google Earth shows the Long Beach Arena to the left (the circular blue structure) and the roughly 13-acre “elephant lot” to the right where city officials are discussing building a stadium for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

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Melissa has been a journalist for over two decades, starting her career as a reporter covering health and religion and moving into local news. She has worked as an editor for eight years, including seven years at the Press Telegram before joining the Long Beach Post in June 2018. She also serves as a part-time lecturer at Cal State Long Beach where she teaches multimedia journalism and writing.
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