by Steve Hunt @ pasadenastarnews.com
Majestic Realty Co. Chairman and CEO Edward Roski Jr. has long dreamed of bringing professional football back to the Los Angeles area.
He hasn't been alone.
The Raiders and Rams both left LA after the 1994 season, with the Raiders returning to Oakland and the Rams moving to St. Louis.
Since then, Los Angeles has tried and failed to bring an NFL expansion team to the area, losing out to Houston. Proposals to build new stadiums in Carson, Anaheim, Los Angeles and Inglewood have gone by the way side, along with efforts to revamp the Coliseum and Rose Bowl in hopes of wooing an NFL team back to the region.
Many Angelenos lost hope they would ever get closer to an NFL game than their television set - unless they were prepared to drive or fly to San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland or Phoenix.
But Roski was determined to bring pro football back to L.A. So determined that he finally devised a plan to build his own stadium into a hillside on 600 acres of land near the intersection of the 57 and 60 freeways in Industry.
Now his dream is moving closer to reality. Wednesday, the state Senate voted to provide Roski's stadium project with an exemption to the California Environmental Quality Act. If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs the bill, as his spokesman said he would, the exemption will clear the way for Roski to build his $800 million, 75,000-seat Los Angeles Stadium.
At that point, all Roski will need to do is convince an existing NFL team to move to the largest media market in the nation.
Though he was traveling this weekend, Roski agreed to participate in a Q&A for this newspaper.
Question: How did you feel when the state Senate voted to grant your stadium project the CEQA exemption on Wednesday and where were you when you heard the news?
Roski: I was in Chicago for the USC vs. Notre Dame game when I received the call. It clearly validates our plan for the need of an NFL franchise in Los Angeles and we see this as a great step for a project that will create thousands of jobs and add significant revenue for the area.
Q: What comes next for you and your stadium project?
A: When you have been doing this for 15 years, the next step is always to keep pushing forward until the ultimate goal is achieved.
Q: You've said that you have met with several NFL teams/owners and made stadium presentations. How were those presentations received?
A: We have made hundreds of presentations to owners, business leaders, state officials, local organizations and fan groups and it is clear that people are impressed with our innovative stadium plans focused on cost efficiency that will protect taxpayers.
Q: How confident are you that an owner will sell you at least a portion of a team, as you have said would be a must to bring a team to your stadium?
A: The ultimate goal is to have a franchise in Los Angeles. Right now all ownership scenarios are on the table.
Q: What's your best guess on when a team will return to Los Angeles?
A: It would be inappropriate for us to speculate on timing when there are so many uncontrollable variables in play. After the NFL season is over and we sit down with the League, we will have a clearer picture of our timeline moving forward.
Q: When will you break ground on your stadium?
A: We will break ground on a new stadium the moment we have secured an NFL franchise for the people of Los Angeles.
Q: How fearful are you that NFL owners will use the threat of moving to your stadium as leverage to get new stadiums in their own cities?
A: I can't worry about other cities and stadiums. We have been working to return the NFL to LA for a long time and right now that is my sole focus.
Q: Majestic Realty Vice President John Semcken previously said that there is is a chance of attracting two NFL teams to play in your stadium. Is that still a realistic possibility?
A: Our complete and total focus is on securing a franchise for Los Angeles. We can only take one step at a time.
Q: What will become of your Silverton Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas when you become a team owner?
A: I am doing everything necessary to prepare myself to be an NFL team owner. Not simply abiding by NFL policies but focusing on transparency and doing the right thing for Los Angeles.
Q: In football terms, is pro football at your Industry stadium at the 50-yard line, 40-yard line, 30-yard line, 20-yard line, 10-yard line, 5-yard line or goal line?
A: I would say we are in the "Red Zone," but every football fan knows that is when things get tough.
Original Article: http://www.pasadenastarnews.com
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