Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
On March 7, 2017, Los Angeles City Council approved the University of Southern California's (USC) plans to renovate the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and its facilities. The university holds a long-term lease on the historic stadium. The venue has hosted USC home football games since 1923, as well as two Olympic Games, two Super Bowls, and a World Series.
The planning process for the project began in late 2013, including site documentation, conditions assessment, research, and design. Though the State of California, County of Los Angeles, and City of Los Angeles jointly own the property (under the authority of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission), USC is responsible for day-to-day operations, maintenance, and capital improvements.
The renovation of the Coliseum began in January 2018 and finished in August 2019. In total, the project cost upwards of $315 million, funded entirely by USC and United Airlines. Renovations include the restoration of the stadium's historic peristyle, new seating, lighting, and the construction of new suites, club seating, and press box on the south side of the stadium.
With such a largescale renovation, it was imperative for work to conform to the Secretary of the Interior’s standards. Special considerations were taken to ensure the stadium's massing, scale, and character defining features remained intact.
On August 24, 2019, the Los Angeles Rams hosted the Denver Broncos in the football game at the reopened Coliseum.
Because the Coliseum is a National Historic Landmark, the project underwent a rigorous environmental review process to ensure that the structure's historic features remain intact. After working closely with USC, the Conservancy is pleased to support the completed project.
For more than two years, the Conservancy regularly met with USC to review and provide feedback on the now-approved project, which aims to preserve and maintain the Coliseum while stabilizing the structure, improving site infrastructure, and modernizing existing facilities. In October 2015, the Conservancy spoke before the Coliseum Commission regarding USC’s preliminary plans. It has been a good partnership, and we are pleased that USC is taking on this much-needed initiative to reinvest in one of the most significant landmarks in Los Angeles.
The Conservancy has thoroughly reviewed the project and worked hard with USC to minimize and reduce any potential impacts associated with the series of proposed skyboxes and a rooftop terrace along the south side of the stadium. The current iteration calling for the addition of club seating and luxury suites will provide funding for the restoration of the Coliseum itself and insure its viability as a sport facility. This is important, and we understand this will also mean the remainder of the stadium will be left intact and some previous alterations (signage, jumbo screens, etc.) will be removed, improving the appearance and the public’s access to the Coliseum.
Throughout our many conversations with USC, we have continually pressed for a project that ultimately minimizes physical impacts and maintains the continued eligibility of the Coliseum as an historic resource, most importantly its National Historic Landmark designation. USC has been very sensitive to our concerns, and we believe that the proposed project will ensure eligibility is maintained long-term. This is important in terms of the Conservancy’s support, and we want to thank USC for working so closely with us on this issue.