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Soccer stadium to replace Sports Arena in South L.A.

LOS ANGELES — The owners of a new Major League Soccer franchise coming to the Southland announced plans Monday to build a $250 million open-air stadium on the site of the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Exposition Park.

The team, known at this point as the Los Angeles Football Club, also plans to build a conference center, museum and restaurants as part of the complex.

“What I’m really happy about is that those 1,200 construction jobs, we can put people to work who live here, and that’s really important,” team co-owner Magic Johnson said.

“We are committed to making our home in South Los Angeles and to be part of the phenomenal development happening along the Figueroa corridor that extends to downtown Los Angeles,” said Henry Nguyen, head of the Los Angeles Football Club’s ownership group.

The 24-member management group also includes sports and entertainment mogul Peter Guber, businessmen Ruben Gnanalingam and Vincent Tan, Club President Tom Penn, former U.S. soccer superstar Mia Hamm Garciaparra, her husband former  Major League Baseball player Nomar Garciaparra, and best-selling author and entrepreneur Tony Robbins.

The group was awarded a franchise last year to replace the disbanded Chivas USA soccer club.

“Los Angeles is a city famed for its creativity and innovation,” added Guber, who is part owner of the Golden State Warriors in the NBA. “In that tradition we look forward to building a premier club, in a state-of-the-art stadium delivering a state-of-the-heart experience, and bringing the world’s game to the City of Angels.”

The goal is to have the new facility in place for the 2018 Major League Soccer season when the club will launch its inaugural season. The stadium will aim to maximize the soccer fan and player experiences and have the latest state-of-the-art technologies, incorporating core elements and best practices from soccer stadiums around the world.

“We are not only committed to creating a dynamic soccer experience for our fans, but are equally excited about the impact our stadium and facilities will have in reshaping and revitalizing South Los Angeles,” Johnson said.

“The new stadium will be absolutely spectacular,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “Los Angeles Football Club fans deserve a world-class stadium, and this facility will provide the appropriate environment for them to celebrate their club.”

The new project has the strong support of local officials who are hoping to give a much-needed economic boost to the area around the arena and the surrounding communities.

“I’m excited to welcome the Los Angeles Football Club to the City of Angels,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “Los Angeles loves soccer and now the greatest sports town in America gets even better. I know this ownership group is committed to representing the best our city has to offer. And I’m especially pleased that this proposed state-of-the-art stadium will be located in South Los Angeles to help revive that neighborhood and bring more jobs and opportunity for our residents. I look forward to celebrating the inaugural season and soon the MLS Cup in the City of Los Angeles.”

Plans for the 22,000-seat stadium still need the approval of the Coliseum Commission and the City Council, but the project has already received public support from various officials, including the mayor.

City Councilman Curren Price hailed the planned stadium project.

“The L.A. Football Club is not only going to bring soccer to the city but it’s going to bring a $250 million investment to our community,” Price said. “That means jobs. That means people working. That means providing goods and providing services.”

Chivas USA played for 10 years at StubHub Center in Carson, sharing the facility with the Los Angeles Galaxy.