A company tied to St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke has purchased a prime piece of land in the Los Angeles area amid speculation the NFL franchise is considering a return to the city it left for the Midwest nearly two decades ago.
Team officials on Friday provided a written statement confirming the recent purchase of a 60-acre site in Inglewood, Calif., adjacent to the shuttered Hollywood Park racetrack. The Los Angeles Times first reported the purchase.
“As real estate developers, the Kroenke Organizations are involved in numerous real estate deals across the country and North America,” the statement said. “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.”
The property is three miles east of Los Angeles International Airport runways and sprawls between the newly renovated Forum concert venue, former home of the Los Angeles Lakers, and Hollywood Park, which closed Dec. 22 after 75 years of horse racing. The latter 260-acre site is slated for development of 3,000 housing units, commercial space and parks.
The land was previously owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which hoped to build a superstore there but could not win local voter approval for the project. Kroenke is a former Walmart board member who is married to the daughter of company co-founder Bud Walton and continues to build shopping centers for the retailer.
Los Angeles has lacked an NFL team since both the Rams and Raiders left in 1994. The Rams can break their 30-year lease in St. Louis after the 2014 season — a decade early — but have said little about their plans.
Prosecutors request calls
Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez used “coded messages” to communicate about his murder case in jailhouse phone calls, Massachusetts prosecutors said in a request for access to recordings of his calls.
In the calls, Hernandez discussed the murder of Odin Lloyd, including his “belief about his criminal liability” and the “extent of his control over persons charged as accessories,” according to the request filed Thursday in Fall River Superior Court.
The ex-player also talked about other matters related to his co-defendants’ “whereabouts and likely criminal liability,” the motion says.
Hernandez, 24, has pleaded not guilty in the killing of Lloyd, a 27-year-old Boston man who played semi-professional football and was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.
Two associates said to be with Hernandez and Lloyd on the night of the killing — Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz — have pleaded not guilty to charges of accessory after the fact.
Defense attorneys didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Goodell: NFL made error
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the league made a mistake in how it handled ticket sales for the playoffs that led to teams struggling to sellout postseason games.
Goodell spoke during his state of the league address on Friday. He says the league should not have been in the position of playoff games having trouble selling out.
The Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers all had problems.