What Happens When Two NFL Teams Come To Town? Inglewood, CA, Is About To Find Out
A few years ago, Inglewood nearly went bankrupt. But the "City of Champions" is on the upswing and faces its next wave of change as home to the new NFL stadium housing both the Rams and the Chargers. That stadium and the surrounding development it attracts could be a boon for the city, but could also bring new challenges.
Driving along West Manchester Boulevard in Inglewood, it is hard to miss the construction crews and heavy equipment making the new $2.6B stadium a reality.
Plans called for the stadium to be ready for the NFL's 2019 season, but record rainfall in Southern California delayed construction and pushed its opening back to 2020. The Inglewood stadium will also host the Super Bowl in 2021.
Near the 80,000-seat stadium will be a 6,000-seat concert venue, a 300-room hotel and a residential project. And even as that development gets underway, developers are stepping in to buy up property and put forth proposals for other projects surrounding the stadium.
Inglewood's stadium has the potential to have a positive economic impact on the city's 110,000 residents, according to UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate Executive Director Tim Kawahara.
The project is expected to deliver $25M in annual tax revenue to Inglewood, according to Kawahara.
It has many residents looking forward to a bright future for the city, which suffered during the riots in 1992 and from the near bankruptcy and still has depressed areas of town.
"It is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to, as I call it, the beautiful city of Inglewood," longtime Inglewood resident and Inglewood Parks and Recreation Chairman Willie Agee said.
Agee has seen a lot transpire in Inglewood since he first bought his house in the city 53 years ago. He paid $30K for his home and estimates it is now worth around $600K.
He credits Inglewood Mayor James Butts and the Inglewood City Council with the city's forward motion.
"The City of Inglewood is shining like a bright star all over the world," Agee said. "The stadium will be No. 1 in the world and bring money, money, money to the City of Inglewood and to LA. It's unbelievable."
There is some concern that the money coming into Inglewood could squeeze out some residents. While neighbors Bisnow interviewed were positive about the stadium, a UCLA report from Kawahara noted gentrification often follows a spike in upscale development in an established neighborhood.
"There is a potential for inverse consequences that need to be addressed, namely the effects of gentrification," Kawahara wrote. "Many areas in Los Angeles have experienced recent gentrification — Echo Park, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, downtown, Highland Park — and the displacement of residents priced out of the neighborhoods in which they live and have established deep roots.
"Inglewood homeowners and commercial real estate landlords are already seeing increased property values, and many speculative investors have placed a sharp focus on the area. Sixty-four percent of Inglewood residents are renters who will not experience increased home equity through price-appreciation and will at the same time face significant rent increases."
The area has had the most affordable rentals in SoCal, but rents have risen in Inglewood, as have multifamily sales prices, though not to the levels seen elsewhere in Los Angeles County.
Rents in 2012 in Inglewood were about $1,030 compared to an average rent of $1,321 in 2017, according to Colliers International Executive Vice President Kitty Wallace.
In multifamily, the price per unit five years ago was $108K compared to $208K this year.
Wallace said most of that jump has occurred within the last six months and has a lot to do with the NFL stadium.
Wallace said Inglewood has been slow to catch on with developers and investors.
She sold a building in Inglewood around 1998, and it was still worth the same price a decade later. Even after The Forum was redone earlier this decade, it did not spark commercial development, according to Wallace.
"It's been a solid neighborhood," Wallace said. "It just hasn't gone up with the clip everyone else has in town."
The NFL stadium has caused more real estate professionals to look at Inglewood in recent months. Investor interest in Inglewood multifamily has increased recently, Wallace said. What is happening now tied to the interest in developing around the stadium is exciting, she said.
Thompson Wealth Management Managing Partner George Thompson is a newer resident to the city. He moved there five years ago.
Thompson said he wanted to be closer to Faithful Central Bible Church, the largest church in Inglewood and one of the largest nationwide. He is an associate pastor there.
The church previously owned The Forum, which it purchased for $22M in 2000. The Madison Square Garden Co. acquired The Forum in June 2012 and spent $100M renovating it.
A new and improved Hollywood Park Casino is also being built on the 238-acre property.
Thompson welcomes what is coming to the neighborhood.
"To go to certain restaurants, you have to drive away from Inglewood," Thompson said. "I think that those will all be there. Me and my wife could walk to them."
While he has heard some of his neighbors complain about the noise, the dust and the construction, he is grateful for the progress.
"I look at them like opportunities," Thompson said. "Sometimes you have to go through something in order for that blessing to be able to be seen. In other words, now there's a lot of construction going on, so there are trucks moving around very early in the morning, and there's noise and dirt, but then they're building something. That's a very large area they're building, and it's going to take construction and years, but the benefits, I believe, far outweigh the concerns and problems."
Universe Holdings founder and CEO Henry Manoucheri said he first began eyeing Inglewood three years ago before other developers were drawn in by the lure of the NFL stadium.
"Someone like us has been at the party since before the party began," he said.
Manoucheri refers to the city as a sleeping giant.
"We continue to remain bullish on the market, and we continue to buy," he said.
His company just purchased its seventh multifamily property in Inglewood for $2.1M. Universe Holdings owns a total of 165 units of multifamily housing in Inglewood.
The firm has plans to spend $271K modernizing the interiors and painting the exterior and making landscape improvements at the 10-unit property at 714 Myrtle Ave.
Manoucheri said when he first began purchasing property in Inglewood, it was $0.90/SF and now is, in some cases, $2/SF. The NFL stadium has made him even more bullish on the area.
"Investors are becoming more confident to do more with us," he said. "There are more deals from the East Coast because they have heard about Inglewood because of the stadium."
He said some have had the wrong impression of Inglewood since some parts of the area look run down and are in need of renovation.
"It's not for everyone," he said. "There are so many people who are afraid to go there. It's not for the fainthearted. It takes patience and vision and guts to be able to go there and do what we've done, but we think the future is very bright.
"If you go there for the first time, you might be hesitant to get out of your car. We've had people tell us that, particularly institutions. So you have to have some imagination in order to go there and make that bet, and so far we are very happy with our bets."
"I think the stadium has certainly raised the profile," Newmark Merrill Cos. CEO Sandy Sigal said. "Anytime you invest that much money into a community, you're going to have a big impact."
He is beginning to see ways the news of the NFL stadium is impacting his own business, including at Crenshaw Plaza, which his company bought five years ago.
"The way it's benefited us is some of the tenants we had to convince to come out are much more excited to come out," Sigal said. "It's much easier to get our tenants to commit."
Sigal said the pride of the city is apparent, and he applauds its leadership.
"The city as a whole, I think, feels like they're on the move, and I think that's a great thing," Sigal said.
He does see a potential negative.
"This happens sometimes with development, there are some risks that people are going to get displaced in this whole thing, right?" Sigal said. "People have been loyal to the city. There's a risk they're going to get priced out of the market, and so we made a very definite plan of keeping as many tenants as we could in our existing center, which is what happened."
Hank Harris and his wife, Helen, are among the residents happy to see their property values increase in Inglewood.
They have lived in the area for 29 years and previously lived in San Diego, the former home of the Chargers. Hank Harris said he is looking forward to the NFL stadium and what it will bring.
"It puts us on the map in a good way and a good light," Harris said.
He said it will bring income to the city and is excited about what it will do for property values and for the name of Inglewood.
"We will get more traffic," Harris said. "We will have to figure out how to deal with that, but it's a lot of pluses for the city."