Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer took one step closer to building a new arena for the team by investing $100 million in the city of Inglewood.
Ballmer’s $100 million community benefits plan was negotiated with city officials from Inglewood as part of their arena development agreement and is set to be revealed Tuesday at an Inglewood City Council meeting.
“We’re close to a residential neighborhood and we are being very mindful,” Ballmer told ESPN in July about building the arena in Inglewood. “Investing well into the community, being a good citizen of the community. No homes need to get moved but we need to be a good neighbor.”
“I want it to be beautiful,” Ballmer added. “But I want it to be about basketball. I want it to be comfortable. But I want it to be about basketball.”
The Clippers, citing public records, called it the largest commitment of funding for community programs made in connection to a sports or entertainment venue in California, with $80 million of it going toward affordable housing, assistance to renters and first-time homebuyers, and $12.75 million going toward school and youth programs.
The Golden State Warriors, who will start playing in the new Chase Center this season, made the previous highest community benefits investment in California when they put $18 million in transit and child impact fees toward San Francisco in connection to the Chase Center.
Ballmer’s proposed “billion-dollar-plus” privately-financed state-of-the-art arena would come complete with corporate headquarters, a team training facility, a sports medicine clinic, community courts and an area with a giant big screen for fans to watch games outside — all located on 26 acres in Inglewood.
“This is really a continuation of what Steve and Connie have invested in over the five years that I have known them,” Gillian Zucker, the Clippers’ president of business operations, said of Ballmer and his wife. “Which has really been about how do you tackle this idea of making the American dream to all children and really addressing the poverty issue. In a community that we intend to call home, we have an opportunity to do something really powerful and impactful.”