FAA approves Inglewood stadium that Rams, Chargers will share

16 January 2017

The $2.6 billion stadium the Rams and Chargers will share in Inglewood took another step forward Friday when the Federal Aviation Administration approved the project after a lengthy review.

The agency had been concerned the structure —  the centerpiece of Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s 298-acre sports and entertainment district — could interfere with radar at nearby Los Angeles International Airport.

As part of a long-expected deal with the FAA, the developers will pay $29 million to install a secondary radar system at LAX to resolve the issue.

“As a result of the agreement, the FAA is able to issue a determination that the stadium will not pose a hazard to navigable airspace or affect the flow of aircraft into LAX,” the agency said in a statement.

In the five-page determination green-lighting the stadium, the FAA said augmenting the existing radar at LAX will “eliminate the probability of false or unstable targets being displayed as a result of the completed stadium.”

The privately financed stadium, scheduled to open in 2019, won’t be modified or delayed as a result of the deal.

“Obviously we’re pleased with the FAA’s determination and we’ve always expected this resolution,” said Gerard McCallum II, project manager for the Hollywood Park Land Co. “It just takes time.”The project is on schedule, McCallum added.

The developers and FAA will establish a committee to mitigate any impacts the project might have on the LAX radar until the second system is completed. The measures could include installing radar-absorbing material on portions of the stadium or scheduling work to avoid periods of heavy air traffic.

The FAA issued a “notice of presumed hazard” in November 2015, a starting point for negotiations with the developers.

During the review process, the Department of Defense and Homeland Security had the opportunity to comment on the stadium project. Neither department objected to the plan, an FAA spokesman said.

Developers broke ground on the stadium in November, but needed a green light from the FAA in order to comply with state law before starting above-ground construction.

Excavation on the stadium bowl is about 75% complete, with 3.1 million cubic yards of dirt removed so far.

Last month, the FAA approved the first two cranes that will be used for the project. The agency continues to review applications for several other cranes.

“I’m glad it finally came,” Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. said of the approval. “I knew this singular project could not have posed a hazard.”