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Questions surface about company selected to build San Diego's new Sports Arena

Legends International, part of Midway Rising, was selected to build the city's new 16,000-seat sports arena.

SAN DIEGO — A city council committee voted to move forward Thursday, September 8, with Mayor Todd Gloria's preferred team, Midway Rising, to redevelop 48.5-acres of city-owned land that is currently home to the Sports Arena.

CBS 8 has been looking into Midway Rising and the three companies that are tasked with building the large-scale development that once completed will include 2,000 market-rate apartments, 2,250 affordable housing units, a new 16,000-seat sports arena, as well as retail and parkland.

Credit: Safdie Rabines Architechts

Legends International, according to its website "specializes in delivering holistic solutions for sports and entertainment organizations and venues." 

And while the company manages large stadiums across the globe such as Yankees Stadium, SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, and the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, there was no information provided on the company building or developing a stadium.

CBS 8 sent an email to Legends' spokesperson on September 1 asking if the company has built any arenas and if so, which ones. The company spokesperson did not respond.

During the September 8 city hearing, city councilmember Joe LaCava asked the same question. 

"It really wasn't clear that Legends has the capacity, the capability, to actually go from the ground, from design to development to implementation to management. Can you speak to that?" asked LaCava.

Shelby Jordan, the representative for Legends and Midway Rising's new point person, said the company is a "sports and entertainment premium experience hospitality type company."

Added Jordan, "The way we believe that we can deliver this project start to finish is the ability when you look at our roots, in terms of our feasibility and our global planning groups, groups that assess whether these types of projects are groups that actually go and are part of the development teams that deliver these types of projects."

But Legends has had some recent difficulties getting off the ground when building arenas.

That was seen in Los Angeles where Legends was selected to build the new arena for the Los Angeles Clippers - according to one media report, the most expensive arena ever built in the U.S.

But that agreement fell through. In April of this year, the Clippers and Legends parted ways with the basketball team moving forward with arena and stadium company, CAA ICON instead.

During the September 8 city council committee hearing, Jordan commented on the issue with the Los Angeles Clippers. 

"We were involved in that project for over two and a half plus years going back to the initial planning and the entitlement process associated with it," Jordan told the council committee. "Through that process, we ran into various challenges, for a lack of a better term...and we decided to part ways and we're no longer involved on that project. We wish them all the best. At the end of the day, there wasn't anything negative that came out of that, from our perspective. We believe if you speak to the ownership group associated with the Los Angeles Clippers in the Intuit dome, they would echo the same sentiments."

After Jordan explained the two sides parting ways, city councilmember Joe LaCava asked whether city staff reached out to the Clippers to find out more information. 

City staff had not.

Responded city staff, "We were made the offer that if we wanted to, we could certainly reach out to them. So we're happy to do that before [the full city council vote on September 13]."

"I think that might be a good idea," councilmember LaCava replied.

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