The NFL’s long-awaited return to Los Angeles might have just gotten another step closer to happening.
A holding company tied to St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke purchased a large plot of land in Inglewood, Calif., earlier this month, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The purchase increases speculation that Kroenke could be angling to move the Rams back to L.A. sometime soon.
The Rams, who along with the Oakland Raiders moved from Los Angeles in 1995, are among the franchises likely to make the move to L.A., mainly because of a potential out clause in their current lease with the Edward Jones Dome. The contract would allow the Rams’ lease to become a year-to-year proposition starting in 2015 if the stadium isn’t upgraded before the end of next season.
The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission proposed a $124 million upgrade to the stadium in 2012, but Kroenke and the organization countered with nearly $700 million in renovations, according to ESPN. An arbitrator ultimately found in favor of the team’s proposal, although the commission doesn’t seem interested in following through with the upgrades.
The 60-acre site bought by Kroenke’s holding company is situated between The Forum and Hollywood Park, which could be a prime location to house an NFL franchise and accessible for fans. However, Kroenke, who made most of his billions through real estate and land development, could also just be using the real estate as leverage in his negotiations with the city of St. Louis.
Update: Kroenke released the following statement Friday afternoon:
“As real estate developers, the Kroenke Organizations are involved in numerous real estate deals across the country and North America. While we can confirm media reports that we recently purchased land in Inglewood, as a private company we don’t typically discuss our plans for commercial or residential investments. We have yet to decide what we are going to do with the property but we will look at all options, as we do with all of our properties.“