INGLEWOOD (CNS) - The Los Angeles Rams formally broke ground today on its future $2.6 billion stadium and surrounding entertainment district in Inglewood, where the team is expected to begin playing in 2019.
Rams owners Stan Kroenke said the project will bring the former site of Hollywood Park racetrack the "most unique and fan-friendly stadium in the world."
It is also being billed as the world's most expensive stadium.
"We're going to give you something to be proud of, that's our goal," Kroenke said. "We want to make citizens of the area, certainly the NFL and the residents of Inglewood proud of what we're doing here. We're gonna build a global destination. That's what we think we can do in the entertainment capital of the world. We think people from all over the world will seek this location out."
The stadium, with an estimated capacity of about 80,000 -- expandable to as much as 100,000 for major events, is expected to include 275 luxury suites, more than 16,000 premium seats and have nearly 3 million square feet of usable space. The overall project has a price tag estimated at about $2.6 billion.
According to contractors, the stadium construction will provide more than 3,500 on-site construction jobs in Inglewood and more than 10,000 jobs by the time it is completed. The stadium is expected to be the centerpiece of an entertainment and commercial center spanning roughly 300 acres. The district is envisioned to include a roughly 6,000-seat arena, nearly 1.5 million square feet of retail and office space, 2,500 residential units and possibly a 300-room hotel, along with 25 acres of parks and open space.
National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league worked for 20 years to get a team back in Los Angeles, understanding that "we had to get it right."
"And this is getting it right," he said. "So 20 years later we got it right. And it's really due to a tremendous amount of people. It starts with the vision of Stan Kroenke.
"... He knew this was the right site. He knew in coming back to Los Angeles we had to do it big and we had to do it better than ever. And he's got that vision. To the mayor and to all the other officials, you just have look around and see the complexity of trying to pull off a project this big. And it takes teamwork, something we value very much in football. Teamwork is what it's all about and that is something that we have here.
"We at the NFL couldn't be more excited. We are confident this is going to be the place to be in 2019 and beyond, not just for football but for entertainment, events, for eating, for living, for working. That's what's going to come to Inglewood in the Hollywood Park area, and we couldn't be more excited to have the NFL part of that," Goodell said.