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SoFi Stadium is 85% done and it’s spectacular

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Los Angeles Rams SoFi Stadium Tour Photo by Scott Varley/MediaNews Group/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images

SoFi Stadium, the 2020 home of both the LA Rams and the LA Chargers, is now 85% complete and set to open in six months according to a report from the LA Times. SoFi is the most expensive stadium in NFL history and features a giant Oculus video board that itself is longer than a football field, a translucent roof, is more than three times the size of Disneyland, and has 70,000 seats.

The Inglewood-based venue carries an estimated $5 billion price tag, an investment not just in the two newly-local NFL teams, but the 2022 Super Bowl, the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship, and the 2028 Summer Olympic opening and closing ceremonies. The first event at SoFi will be Taylor Swift’s “Lover Fest” tour on July 25 and 26.

The 120-yard long Oculus video board will play videos not just for the fans below, but for airline passengers above who are crossing over LA. The specs are amazing, but Times’ reporter David Wharton also mentions concerns over SoFi’s impact on the Inglewood neighborhood and its African American residents.

Inglewood Mayor James T Butts Jr spoke on that impact, positive and negative, to the Daily Breeze in November:

“That’s what’s happening right now, the Genesis effect,” Butts said. “We were once a City of Champions and we can be that again.”

The Daily Breeze also mentions positive growth in the last decade:

By 2011, the city was on the path to bankruptcy. The Inglewood Unified School District was taken over by the state in 2012 and is still struggling today.

“It was a city devoid of hope with no aspiration for the future,” said Butts, a former Inglewood cop who in 2018 was elected to a third term as mayor.

When he first took office, the city had double-digit homicide rates. This year, fewer murders have been committed in Inglewood than in Santa Monica or Pasadena, Butts said.

Unemployment dropped from 17.5 percent in 2011 to 4.7 percent in 2019.

And the potential negatives:

D’Artagnan Scorza, a member of Uplift, said longtime residents are being displaced by investors trying to make a buck at the existing community’s expense. The city — long a haven for middle- and working-class African Americans and Latinos — is at risk of losing its soul if the people who lived there for decades can no longer afford it, he said.

“This fight is about our future and making sure we all have an opportunity to thrive,” Scorza said. “A fair shot at opportunity — that’s what Inglewood has represented for so many people of color for so long.”

Rents have surged and previously stagnant properties have changed hands as speculators gobble up land near the stadium along Prairie Avenue. There have been improvements throughout the area, but in some sections older buildings seemingly have been left to rot as the land beneath becomes more valuable with time. Several business owners say they expect many would become parking lots in the future.

Butts’ believes that any risk or downside however lies with the owners of the teams, not the city of Inglewood itself, though he acknowledges that some businesses will be put out by the changes.

The Rams and Chargers are still awaiting their schedules, home and away, for 2020. But you can bet that just about every weekend next season will feature an NFL game in Inglewood’s wildly extravagant new park.