Los Angeles Lakers granted approval for $80 million training facility in El Segundo

first_imgThe Toyota Sports Center has long been inadequate, as the Lakers share space with the NHL Kings, kids’ sporting practices and the like.“If you visit our current facility, the name ‘Lakers’ is listed once on a little, tiny sign,” Harris said. “What’s become important to the Lakers and the players is their brand. The notion of having a training center where no one can find us doesn’t really work anymore. It worked in 1999, but it doesn’t work now.”The Los Angeles Clippers opened a $60 million practice facility in Playa Vista in 2008 after previously holding practices at an El Segundo Spectrum health club and a community college.The new Lakers facility, to be constructed of steel, aluminum and tinted glass, will allow natural sunlight to shine through, including in the locker rooms, and will feature digital signage integrated on the facade of the building.Architect Jim Renne emphasized that the building was designed to feel like a “second home” for the players and to allow fans access to everything Lakers.The facility is expected to generate $180,000 in annual taxes to the city and $350 million in annual economic benefits, according to a report by Kosmont Cos. During construction alone, the project is estimated to produce $136 million in economic benefits.Meanwhile, the Kings are expected to grow their footprint at the Toyota Sports Center, moving in their corporate team and expanding their business operations once the Lakers vacate their space.Council members last week could barely contain their excitement over the new Lakers facility, each raving about the proposal and enthusiastically supporting construction begin as soon as possible.“The design is beautiful,” Councilwoman Marie Fellhauer said. “I think it’s only going to add to the character of El Segundo.”Mayor Suzanne Fuentes said the Lakers have continually proven to be a good neighbor — donating to various organizations and schools in town and recently pledging $250,000 toward the new aquatics center.Fuentes, an El Segundo native, said the proposal is “thrilling,” especially for someone who grew up in the city.“If you had told us when we were growing up that the Lakers were going to be in the strawberry fields, I never would have believed you,” she said. There was a time when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson would battle podiatrists on the basketball court. Not over ability, but space.The Showtime Lakers would hop from place to place, finding anywhere they could to practice, even local YMCAs.Now the Los Angeles Lakers will finally have a court of their own. The El Segundo City Council has granted unanimous approval of a new state-of-the-art training facility and exhibition venue for the NBA team, just one block north of the home it shares with he Los Angeles Kings at the Toyota Sports Center. The two-story, 122,000-square-foot facility is expected to open in spring 2017 at 710 N. Nash St. in Campus El Segundo.“We’re sort of like the resident who’s been living in an apartment and is finally going to own his own home. We’ve never built anything,” said Tim Harris, chief operating officer of the Lakers. The $80 million facility on 5 acres will not only house a double basketball court for Lakers practice and D-Fenders home games, two half-courts, a training area, team area, atrium, and courtyard but it also will serve as the team’s corporate headquarters.Harris said the new facility was a necessity to bring the team in line with today’s recruiting standards and give the players a second home.Before the year 2000, it was OK for the team to be nomadic — bouncing from space to space, Harris said. But, the sport and standards have evolved, he noted.“What’s acceptable for a training center has changed,” he said, adding that players and the NBA expect teams to provide high-quality nutrition, weight rooms, video-watching facilities and a community space.“Now you need so much more,” Harris said. “We have to provide players with a second home where they can grow and extend their career.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more