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Inglewood marks progress on Intuit Dome, newest gem in Hollywood Park’s ‘City of Champions’ crown

Inglewood’s Intuit Dome – the future home of the Los Angeles Clippers – celebrated a major milestone this week when community leaders and media united at the construction site on Thursday, July 21 to mark the quick pace of progress occurring at the $1.8 billion privately-funded arena that’s expected to open in the fall of 2024. It’s just the latest landmark for the city, which has become a rekindled sports mecca in recent years.

The concrete frame of the 18,000-seat hoops haven is now complete, meaning workers will soon pivot to finishing the steelwork that will serve as the base of “The Wall,” an area that Clippers Chairman Steve Ballmer said will compare to the rabid student sections that are witnessed in the crowds of prestigious college basketball programs around the nation.

“It’s a real pleasure to be here today to welcome you to our house – our home,” Ballmer said before being interrupted by an airplane flying above the “City of Champions.”

The sounds of passengers traveling to and for LAX are far from the only audible disruption in the area, however. Just up the way construction trucks squeak to a stop as they hoist dirt to lots scattered throughout the park’s footprint.

At the same time, cranes constructing parking garages hang in the air, towering above local neighborhoods rich with lavanderias, mercados and other cultural staples that are typically found in the majority-Latino city of Inglewood.

Beyond the intersection of Century Boulevard and Prairie Avenue, though, a wave of change that will likely engulf the surrounding area is on the horizon.

Giant white Hollywood Park signs and advertisements hyping the coming WWE Wrestlemania — Roman Reigns and other stars of scripted sports will bring the two-night event to Sofi Stadium on April 1-2 — welcome visitors all along the boulevard.

Freshly painted murals crafted by local artists, a still bustling casino and soon-to-be sustainable buses are also easily spotted along the streets from the site of the Intuit Dome’s construction site.

Inglewood mayor James T. Butts said in an interview hours before he and members of the Clippers organization donned hard hats and fluorescent vests at the site that the additions are all part of a vision to make Inglewood a “sports, entertainment and retail mecca of the world.”

“This is all a very well thought-out plan of innovation. And it’s not just related to sports – it’s a project for the city, which is exactly what it will benefit,” Butts added, highlighting coming attractions like the World Cup and 2028 Olympics.

In the more immediate future, the national spotlight is set to return to Inglewood again when it hosts the 2023 College Football National Championship game.

Beyond the big games, Hollywood Park’s 890,000-square-foot retail area will be surrounded by creative office space, sophisticated residences and public parks. All of which won’t be too far from where Butts stood Thursday in front of dozens who have all helped make the dream possible.

Behind him — nearly 35 feet deep — lay center court and the future site of the team’s training facility and business offices.

“The Plaza,” an 80,000‐square foot outdoor area complete with bars and restaurants that will be anchored by a full‐sized, regulation basketball court featuring a screen that stretches key‐to‐key, is also in development, according to Butts.

And while there were delays in securing land for the area – largely because of a legal tiff with the former owners of the revitalized Kia Forum nearby – the struggle ended when Clippers Owner Steve Ballmer bought the iconic concert venue for $400 million.

Now, many believe the Clippers’ move South will pay dividends.

Particularly since it will allow the Clippers to finally have a say in their schedule, a far cry from their current situation at Arena where, they are prioritized behind the NBA’s Lakers and other prominent acts occurring in Downtown Los Angeles.

Ballmer echoed the belief that the dome will soon become the talk of the town thanks in part to its location along Century Boulevard near Prairie Avenue, across the street from the already iconic $5 billion SoFi Stadium, home to the Rams, Chargers, top touring acts and Super Bowl LVI (won by the hometown Rams, who coincidentally were scheduled to receiver their championship rings later Thursday during a private ceremony).

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