|By David Zahniser, Los Angeles
TimesMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
July 20, 2011--Construction of a $1-billion NFL stadium and a new wing of the Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles would dramatically increase the number of convention bookings while generating $22 million annually for the city, according to the findings of two reports commissioned by the project's developer.
One study contends the two projects would generate $41 million in tax revenue annually for an array of government agencies, including the state, school district and Metropolitan Transportation Authority, during their first full year in operation in 2016.
A second consultant said he found that major convention bookings would jump from 24 in 2012 to 38 in 2016 if the two facilities were completed.
Both reports were paid for by Anschutz Entertainment Group, which is in talks with the city over an agreement to build the two facilities in tandem. The Times obtained summaries of the reports, but AEG officials say they have no plan to make the studies themselves public.
"The studies from these independent and well-respected economists confirm our belief that the Convention Center modernization and Farmers Field development will create tens of millions in tax revenues and a tremendous economic boost to the region," said AEG spokesman Michael Roth.
A draft agreement between the city and AEG is expected to be available to the public by next week. A full City Council debate on the stadium, known as Farmers Field, is scheduled for July 29.
Councilman Paul Krekorian said he examined the findings but would need to know more of the consultants' assumptions before drawing any conclusions. He said he intends to ask AEG for the entire study. "Without a full report, I put no weight in a consultant's summary," he said.
City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said the city would perform its own economic analysis.
Under the proposal, the city must demolish and rebuild a portion of the Convention Center to make way for the football stadium. That project would cost up to $290 million. Some of the new tax revenue the city would receive is expected to be applied toward the financing of the Convention Center work.
Bruce Baltin, one of the two AEG-hired consultants, concluded that hotel bookings from increased conventions would more than double by 2016 to 551,000 room nights. By comparison, San Diego had 600,000 convention room nights in 2010, and San Francisco had 810,000 last year, he said.
Baltin predicted that completing the stadium, building 2,400 new hotel rooms and upgrading the Convention Center to create more than 500,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space would pump an additional $175 million each year into the city's economy.
Baltin previously was the city's consultant on several high-profile projects, analyzing hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for AEG's L.A. Live complex and two other downtown hotel developments.
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