The grandstand canopy at the former Hollywood Park Racetrack imploded in the early morning of May 31 to make way for the new mixed-use community being built there. The future site will include more than 4 million square feet of retail, office, hotel, and entertainment space, along with parks and public open space.
The activity was designed to cause minimal disruption for neighbors, though there were brief periods of noise and vibration. The controlled demolition was conducted in close coordination with the City of Inglewood, the Inglewood Police Department, and other authorities to ensure a safe event.
Horse racing at Hollywood Park was an Inglewood tradition which lasted almost 75 years until the race track closed in 2013. The horse racing industry began to decline in recent years. The New York Times reported: “Thoroughbred racing declined nationally in handle by 7.3% in 2008, by 9.8% in 2009, and by 8.4% in the first four months of 2010.” Slots, casinos and online betting began to replace old-fashioned horse racing due to their convenience and simplicity.
Now, with the possibility of an NFL team relocating to the L.A. area, and an already approved, privately-funded stadium planned adjacent to the Hollywood Park site, Inglewood is on its way to reclaiming its reputation as a leading sports city. If approved by NFL owners, this will be the first time in over 20 years that L.A. will have a home team.
Inglewood Mayor James Butts, public and safety officials, representatives from Hollywood Park, and about 75 Rams fans gathered around 6am to watch the demolition. The group cheered after the low-level explosives brought down the concrete grandstand within 30 seconds.
“Like the mythical Phoenix rising from the ashes, so does the City of Inglewood. The completion of this Sports/Entertainment corridor project, which began with the 100 million dollar revitalization of the Forum will continue to completion with the anticipated opening of an 80,000 seat stadium in 2018. This mixed use development which will also include a 6,000 performing arts venue, will include over 1 million square feet of office space, 1 million square feet for retail establishments, 4 parks, a hotel, movie theatre and 2,500 residential units. The City of Inglewood is marching towards destiny.” Mayor Butts said.
Ground is expected to be broken for the new stadium in December, and NFL owners could make a decision about relocating one or more teams to Los Angeles this summer. Meanwhile, workers should have debris from the demolition cleared away by mid-July.
The demolition had been planned for about 9 months and the early morning implosion was scheduled to make it as minimally disruptive as possible. Outreach efforts to neighbors was extensive to prepare them for the noise and crews worked to insure that hazardous materials were removed. A large number of safety and health agencies were involved to ensure the demolition was done safely and properly, while law enforcement made sure the perimeter was secure.
More information about the Hollywood Park project is available at www.hollywoodparklife.com.