If Frank McCourt can’t play ball in Chavez Ravine maybe he will build houses instead

Photo by Scott Fajack

The parking lots that surround Dodger Stadium generate about $11 million a season in parking fee revenue (guess those higher rates add up). That’s a lot of money but that sea of asphalt might be even more valuable if all or part of those lots were transformed into a residential community. The possibility of parking condos instead of cars on the lots was raised in a Sunday L.A. Times story about the fate of the 350-acre Dodger property after Major League Baseball stripped team owner Frank McCourt of operating control. McCourt divided the team and stadium property into separate companies.  If MLB finds another owner for the Dodgers, McCourt might remain owner of the stadium property, according to the Times story. What would he do with that land?  It’s still too early to say but new Dodger executive Steve Soboroff told the Times that  housing might be a possibility:

Dodgers vice chairman Steve Soboroff, who shepherded a major retail and residential development at Playa Vista, said the Dodger Stadium property might best be used for residences around the perimeter. Soboroff emphasized he has not talked with McCourt about land development since joining the Dodgers last month — “I wasn’t hired to do that,” he said — but added that the most feasible development would be limited and community-oriented, with cash flow years down the road. “You’re not talking about a large-scale project,” Soboroff said. “It would take five, six, seven years to do it right. You want the community and the neighbors to say things are better because of it.”

The story notes that McCourt would likely have to battle MLB as well as his ex-wife, Jamie, over any attempt to hold on to the Chavez Ravine property underneath the stadium.  If housing is ever built on the team’s parking lots, things will certainly get a lot more crowded around Dodger Stadium since Barlow Respiratory Hospital, which sits next to the Stadium, wants to develop 888 units of housing on its property.

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  1. Soboroff valiantly says of a future development, “You want the community and the neighbors to say things are better because of it.”

    Nice words and perhaps he’s sincere, but I’m pretty sure the community won’t have anything good to say about ANY development around Dodger Stadium that adds to the community’s permanent density in any significant manner.

    It’s particularly endearing how Soboroff optimistically says it would take but 7 years max to “do it right.” How long has Playa Vista taken? More than 30 years. Hell, it took nearly 6 years just for Playa Vista’s Phase II to go from initial approval in 2003 to full City Council sign-off last year.

  2. This sounds like a threat from McCourt in the hopes of dissuading MLB from forcing him to sell the Dodgers. (i.e., let me keep control or I’ll make Dodger Stadium nonviable by removing the parking surrounding the stadium.) More proof that McCourt is interested only in himself (not the Dodgers or the City) as well as a numbskull.

    McCourt is scum.

  3. PLEASE turn this into an area like Wrigleyville. Dodger Stadium is in a gorgeous, but completely remote location. There is so much potential to transform the parking lot and the east side of Echo Park into an area that compliments the stadium’s uses.

    But, this needs good public transportation to make it really awesome.

  4. Diving of the team and the property into separate businesses would seem designed to limit the reach of what the MLB can do to the McCourts’ fortune. Still, his background is as a Boston developer — and if all he will be able to run is the land (and I guess the stadium building itself), then expect him to do something with it. And he is not going to think small.

    As mentioned, consider the Barlow land and the proposal there that our city officials seem OK with so far. If Barlow can get that done, with what little sway it has, imagine what the McCourts, with all their money and ability to grease the wheels, can get approval for.

    Soboroff speaks of a smaller-scale project? Why would McCourt want to limit it — just to make a bunch of people in Echo Park who he sees as a bunch of cry babies happy? Soboroff isn’t going to be the one making any development proposals.

    Probably the only salvation here would be if MLB forced a sale of the team — and any buyer insisted on the land going with it, if for no other reason than to not be under a landlord’s control.

  5. Francisco Solano and Rosa Casanova are turning over in their graves …

  6. Ever since Mr. McCourt came into the scene, those of us who have had to live with the stadium and all the headaches it brought into our community, have always thought that is why he bought the property in the first place.

    Many of us have lived on standby wondering …what next?

  7. Wow! That really sucks!!!

  8. Stop the insanity!!

  9. There is a special place in hell for people like him.

  10. in the long run, what difference would it make? it’s a chunk of land that has been used for private enterprise, and it would remain a chunk of land that is used for private enterprise. not to rain on anyones parade, but I would much rather have some condos built up there than have to deal with the Dodgers fans and all of their nonsense.

  11. @wow – “I would much rather have some condos built up there than have to deal with the Dodgers fans and all of their nonsense.”

    the grass is always greener when you’re on the other side. i bet you anything that whatever McCourt has in store won’t make you happy. i predict community meetings about (insert problem here) to replace the Dodger issues.

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