Schwarzenegger speeds up "green" football stadium

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger put his muscle behind a “green” football stadium for Los Angeles on Thursday by signing a bill to accelerate construction for a private developer’s proposed $800 million sports complex.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose wife Maria Shriver is the niece of U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, arrives for the funeral services of Senator Kennedy at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston, Massachusetts August 29, 2009.REUTERS/Brian Snyder

The bill helps the project clear environmental hurdles for construction in the City of Industry in Los Angeles County, which hopes to attract a National Football League professional football franchise after losing the Los Angeles Rams to St. Louis in 1995.

Developer Majestic Realty Co plans to build the 75,000-seat stadium with private financing.

Developers say it will be the first “green” professional football stadium in the United States and will meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

The proposal calls for the stadium to use solar panels for power, recycled water for landscaping and be built into a hillside so that less steel and concrete is used.

The project could start construction next year and be open for the 2013 football season, said Taylor Talt, an associate project executive at Majestic Realty.

But Talt said construction will not start unless a team commits to relocate.

The project would create 18,000 jobs and bring more than $760 million a year to the local economy, said Assemblyman Isadore Hall, a Democrat representing Compton, California.

Hall wrote the bill, which dismissed a lawsuit by local residents about the stadium’s environmental impact and cleared the way for construction.

Officials hope the venue will clinch a deal for a professional football team for the second largest U.S. city.

“A team won’t come to a city if there’s no place to play,” Hall said.

Majestic Realty said it will talk with teams in the National Football League about moving to the Los Angeles area.

The NFL has identified seven teams that need a new stadium, including the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars.