The fight is on!
Steve Ballmer wants to move his National Basketball Association Clippers franchise from downtown Los Angeles to Inglewood, California at a site near the former home of the NBA Lakers and the National Hockey League Kings. Ballmer’s lease at his present home ends in 2024 and it does take a number of years from conception to the opening of a building as various governmental approvals are needed and a lease with a local community has to be executed. It appears Ballmer has Inglewood Mayor James Butts’ support but Ballmer has run into opposition.
New York Knicks owner James Dolan doesn’t want Ballmer’s building approved because he owns the Lakers/Kings old home, the Forum, and uses it for concerts. Dolan is suing to keep Ballmer out of the neighborhood but his court action is against the city of Inglewood, not Ballmer, over a 15 acre lot that Dolan thought would be used for a technology center, instead Ballmer wants the mostly vacant lot and his Clippers arena would be competition for Dolan for concerts. The Uplift Inglewood Coalition wants the land to be used for housing and Uplift Inglewood has picked up a major supporter, former Senator Barbara Boxer. Ballmer’s proposal is not limited to an arena. He wants a parking lot, a practice facility, team offices, shops, and an outdoor plaza with basketball courts. People living on the property near the proposed arena village are concerned they will be evicted from the area. That’s where Boxer comes in. She plans to oppose the arena and also a fast track bill in the California Assembly that would skip intense scrutiny from California environmental laws. Local residents are afraid they will be priced out with nowhere to go. Landlords have begun to raise rents in the anticipation of an NFL stadium and Ballmer’s arena opening in the neighborhood. Ballmer is in a battle.