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There’s every reason to think that Chavez Ravine is going to be developed

Apr 17, 2012, 12:32 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers Getty Images

Dodger Stadium sits in a vast parking lot on top of a hill. So vast that they used it to film scenes from that last “Star Trek” movie that were supposed to talk place on another freakin’ planet.  Aside from the ballpark itself, it’s a big, open, mostly empty space.

Which has many people looking at that $2 billion price the new owners paid for the place and assuming that they’ll try to use that land to create some more income:

Developer Ken Lombard, a former business partner of Johnson, said the Dodgers property is ideally situated for an urban development.

“You could create a community up there,” said Lombard, who runs the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza shopping center. “You have the chance to do something very interesting, probably a mixture of residential and retail.”

I’m assuming that would lead to years of battles with the neighbors from surrounding areas. And, as the article suggests, the possibility that simply demolishing Dodger Stadium and building a new downtown ballpark could be considered, if only as a bluff.

Worth watching.

  1. koufaxmitzvah - Apr 17, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Of course it’s ideal for urban development. The land that FMC bought as part of Dodger Stadium, and then separated off into its own entity, used to be home for 1000s of families. All this does is make the original Imminent Domain land grab that helped lure the Dodgers to LA seem that much more oppressive and unfair.

    I didn’t know about the original neighborhood as a child. And I still believe there isn’t a prettier ballpark. But it’d be a great subject for a community oriented journalist to breakdown and figure out. What has happened to these families? What did they get paid, and how have they made out since their evictions?

    I’d suggest a pot of money to be evenly divided amongst the former denizens of Chavez Ravine to help offset the value of the land that was stripped away from them. Flabby Frank the Boston Chowderhead shouldn’t make out like the bandit he is.

    • thewrongalex - Apr 17, 2012 at 12:55 PM

      Imminent, indeed.

    • professorianduncan - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      One take on the original controversy.

    • pjmitch - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:56 PM

      You are suggesting taking on something that happened over 50 years ago?

      • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:06 PM

        In this case, yes. Since FMC split the team from the land, and since FMC used that tactic to gain a $2.1 billion sale, then the people who never had their day in court regarding the use of the land should have their opportunity to be compensated.

        50 years isn’t so long ago. A couple generations. And since the land has already been used as a chess piece for a POS like Frankie to quadruple his so-called original investment, I’d say that now is the time to re-open this situation and get some closure for those families who got $0 from an uncompromising City.

        That link above is a good read. These families got hosed big time.

      • craigbhill - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:38 PM

        The few people left in 1959 after the vast majority were evicted in 1952 were so few in number, and were squatters who never paid a cent for the land they lived on for free, it makes your cause too dubious to ever be taken up.

        And that’s the group you’re talking about, the ones there 53 years ago, not 50, tho the ones you thought you were describing were the ones evicted SIXTY years ago. Tho, as you said, that’s “only” three whole generations ago. Good luck on that hunt! Don’t forget to write us what you find.

    • davidpom50 - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:54 PM

      The only thing I would add to this is that Magic has a history of community-friendly businesses. Don’t be surprised if there’s quite a bit of low-income housing on the fringes of any development.

    • lanflfan - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      I would love to see McAsshat’s ill-gotten gold given to people far more deserving and who contributed far more to society than Frank ever will.

    • craigbhill - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      The squatters squatted elsewhere, that’s what happened to them. There’ve been numerous articles interviewing some of them.

      NOTE BENE, squatting means “didn’t pay for”. None of the people living there owned an inch of the land, because there was no one selling it to them. The feds stated the land had to go for a public purpose, meaning NOT housing. (Which is unfortunate: LA is being overpriced to death.) I would maintain that putting a major league baseball team there IS a public service. Anyone still disagreeing after 50 + years, please bash your skulls in against City Hall and see where that gets ya.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:51 PM

        The only squatters were the ones who stayed in their homes until Dodger Stadium came into being, as per the link provided. The other folks who were told to move away from their homes when the development was slotted for federal low income housing weren’t considered Squatters, now were they? As for them squatting elsewhere, and numerous articles detailing this, could you provide one link of the “squatters squatting elsewhere?”

        As for bashing my head against a wall, I guess you don’t see the opportunity that has arisen here in the sudden ability to actually reach a conclusion in a contentious situation which affected hundreds of households. Naturally, I’m not surprised that you fail to see this, as the only portion of my comment you apparently can see is the need to belittle it. All you’ve accomplished was is actively belittling your ability to be a thinker.

        I know this is really going to piss you off, so I’ll mention it: Mexicans lived there before Gringos like you chased them out of the neighborhood. I love Dodger Stadium, amd yes, it is a public assett. This does not make it right that FMC gets to profit off it especially considering its history. A stadium created for the public use by the people of LA ontop of a destroyed community of homes. Frankly, if FMC didn’t split the Dodgers team from the Dodgers property– which is what he “paid”– then I wouldn’t really be complaining about this. But that is the window through which the light is shining.

  2. Jonny 5 - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    If they were to build an entertainment complex within the stadium area it could draw quite the crowd actually. Who wants to deal with “Downtown” driving and parking? Not many people enjoy that. Keep the stadium and build an entertainment complex. That would bring in real income imo. And before anyone congratulates me on an excellent idea, I didn’t think of it. CBP, Lincoln Financial, and the Wells Fargo centers had the same issue with being nothing but parking lots and they fixed it with that. I’m sure LA could do it even better.

  3. lanflfan - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    The biggest obstacle to development is access.

    There are only 4 access roads into Chavez Ravine/Dodger Stadium, part of the tradeoff for being nestled in the hills and having that great view of the San Gabriel Mountains. While several major freeways are very close by, they snarl up pretty good when the game lets out, doubly so if the Lakers, Clippers or Kings are also playing at Staples Center. Also, the parking lot, while huge, has major access and traffic flow issues with 40,000+ people (it can take hours to empty) and sometimes can not hold all the vehicles wanting to enter (lots down the hill and in Elysian Park are used). *Insert LA car/traffic joke here*

    Without building a mutli-story parking structure, which would absolutely destroy the look of the grounds, I don’t see any way you can subtract parking and increase usage with other activities. Then again, I’m just thinking logically, not with $$$$ in my eyes.

    • davidpom50 - Apr 17, 2012 at 6:08 PM

      I actually think a lot of the issues you mention could be fixed as part of a development – a structure could be built to fit with the new structures going up, and the atrocious lack of flow in the parking lots could be dealt with. There’s also quite a bit of unused land outside the parking lots that’s still owned by the team – mostly the area behind the hill with the “Think Blue” sign.

    • hackerjay - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:38 PM

      It seems that all those reasons are good reasons to redevelop the land and make the access better. Maybe use it as an excuse to extrend the subway to the park.

  4. craigbhill - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    This article is specious. It’s based not on fact, but on gossip. Magic’s supposed “realtor” partner exists to develop everything everywhere. That’s what this article is based on, his meglomania, not Magic’s.

    The presser at the Stadium coming May 1 or so, with the principals answering these ALREADY-ANSWERED questions, will satisfy all but the biggest idiots who think they’re going to build condos, a theme park, and move the pointy building there from its lot. All of which is as serious as the speculation making the rounds in our yellow journalistic world.

  5. chumthumper - Apr 19, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    I went to a game at Dodger Stadium in 1977. It took me hours…I mean hours…to get out of the parking lot. I’m still in therapy.

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