24 April 2008

Dodger Stadium improvement plans announced

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt announced his long-awaited plans for Dodger Stadium. McCourt was assisted by a Vin Scully-narrated promotional video. 3-D models and renderings abound.

The largely outside-the stadium project will cost $500 million on top of the $250 million spent inside the stadium over two years ago. They have the buzz words down, talking up the Stadium's transformation into a "lifestyle destination for all of Los Angeles for all twelve months of the year." Also emphasized is a change in the way the venue is operated to a more environmentally responsible one (no mentions of specifics other than a nod to technology).

Among the improvements:
  • Dodger Way - A new "front door" to the stadium in center field framed by a tree-lined walkway. The center field plaza would connect to a promenade featuring shops, restaurants and a Dodger Experience museum.
  • Green Necklace - A landscaped, tree-lined perimeter surrounding the stadium. Fans will be able to access their seats and concessions via the Green Necklace.
  • Top of the Park - Behind the highest point of the park behind home plate would be a a outdoor plaza with views of the Los Angeles skyline, Santa Monica bay, the San Gabriel mountains and the field of play inside Dodger Stadium
In addition, the Dodgers plan a "transit plaza" (read: bus station) with a dedicated bus lane and garages to replace terrace parking lost to construction. Two of the garages are on the left and right edges of the above rendering. Additional parking will be underground. As for extending rail-based transit, McCourt left that up to the city to figure out. Even though MTA's Gold Line has its Chinatown stop just slightly over 1/2 mile from the stadium, it's also a 300-foot vertical climb. Perhaps they could use a funicular like Pittsburgh's Duquesne Incline or the incredibly cool Katoomba Scenic Railway in Scenic World, west of Sydney, Australia. Half-seriously, they could even contact Six Flags when Magic Mountain inevitably closes for their funicular. They'll need to figure out how to enhance pedestrian access as well.

What's going to pay for the Dodger Stadium improvements? Scuttlebutt is that McCourt will sell off development rights to pieces of surrounding land. As much as the Dodgers are advertising the great views from the stadium, some of those views will be undoubtedly altered by the stadium's ancillary expansion, as well as the presence of condos all over the nearby hillsides.


anon-a-mouse said...

Not a bad strategy for encouraging more people to come early and stay later -- ie: stretch out the traffic pattern. If anyplace needs it, it's LA.

Two questions:

1. I'm not up on LA's transit situation, but isn't Dodger Stadium already linked to rail with the Blue line. Can't people just transfer to that?

2. Is Wally World in financial trouble? I hadn't heard that it was closing anytime soon. I've never even been there, but I'd still feel a sense of loss as it's been one of the major landmarks on my hundreds of trips to LA since I was a child.

Marine Layer said...

The Blue Line doesn't even go to Union Station. Only the Gold Line comes close to Chavez Ravine.

Magic Mountain was put up for sale in 2006 as part of a portfolio of parks. Last year it was pulled back. I think that's only because of the real estate market - if it were good they wouldn't hesitate to sell it.