LA Galaxy breathes new life into Toyota Sports Complex in Torrance – and soon, a new name to boot – Daily Breeze

The beloved Torrance Toyota Sports Complex, facing potential closure if city and state officials are unable to agree on new lease terms, has found a savior in the Los Angeles galaxy.

The resort was facing closure because the California Judicial Council, which controls the 6-acre state-owned land on Maple Avenue, wanted to raise Torrance’s rent from $1 a year to thousands of dollars a month – a large increase that the city could not. t afford.

But the Galaxy has offered to pay more than $20,000 to the city, which, in turn, will continue to lease the land to the Judicial Council. The new lease will start on January 1 and run until 2028.

The JCC accepted the professional football club’s proposal last month and the city council approved it this week.

“It’s really close to the Galaxy community and a lot of our fans are based in Torrance,” said Tom Braun, vice president of business operations for Galaxy. “It’s 10 minutes from our stadium, so it’s our backyard.

“It’s important to us to keep the pitch alive,” Braun added, “and to make the pitch available for others to play on.”

Torrance and the Judicial Council signed a 10-year lease in 2011, with the former agreeing to pay $1 per year to use the land.

The city invested $3.2 million to build the Toyota Sports Complex, which opened in 2014 and quickly became a community staple.

He receives on average 56,000 visitors each year, depending on the city, and hosts 28 youth organizations, including the Beach Futbol Club, Southern California South Bay Soccer, Fram Soccer Club, and American Youth Soccer Organization Regions 14 and 16.

The complex is equipped with high quality synthetic turf and can be configured for soccer, football, lacrosse, as well as hosting events and clinics.

Torrance’s lease was set to expire in April 2021. Torrance and the Judicial Council began negotiations on renewing the lease in February, just two months before it expires in April.

The JCC initially requested a monthly payment of approximately $31,000, plus a potential inflation increase of up to $69,000, over the proposed eight-year lease term.

JCC officials had said the old basement prices were now considered a donation of public funds, so they had to raise the rent.

“They wanted to realize the industrial values ​​of the properties in this area,” said Danny Santana, deputy city manager of Torrance.

But Torrance, already cash-strapped, would not be able to afford such a cost, city officials say.

Negotiations proceeded well past April, with the JCC offering a series of short-term lease extensions and Torrance presenting counter-offers.

First, the city offered to pay $1,000 per month and make a one-time investment to improve the Torrance courthouse parking lot, which sits on the 6-acre parcel. The JCC responded by offering a two-year lease, with a monthly rent of about $30,000 for the first year and about $45,000 for the second year.

By October, the two sides were at an impasse and the future of the sports complex looked bleak.

The 6-acre Toyota Sports Complex in Torrance on Thursday, October 7, 2021. With the 10-year lease of the Toyota Sports Complex coming to an end, the City of Torrance and the Court Council have so far been unable to reach acceptable terms and if a new lease is not concluded by October 31, the field will close. (Hunter Lee, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

The city launched a public awareness campaign, which quickly resulted in widespread community support.

Two residents created a petition to “Save the Toyota Sports Complex,” which as of Thursday had over 4,300 signatures.

“We just wanted to get some support so that we can still have this as a facility to play, for all the kids in the community who use it,” said Matthew Skoll, Regional Commissioner for AYSO Region 12 and co-creator of the petition. “It’s a place to play, and I think for a lot of kids to be able to play in a nice place is a really good thing for them.”

The petition, along with the city’s outreach to several organizations, led the LA Galaxy to get involved and offer financial assistance.

“Bringing in a third party to help us,” Santana said, “is how we were able to solve this challenge.”

The Galaxy, as part of the deal, will pay the city $20,151 per month to help Torrance cover the cost of its new lease with the JCC.

In exchange, Santana said, the Galaxy will have access to the pitch from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, times when the pitches are currently not in use.

The Galaxy, Braun said, has big plans for the facility: Galaxy Juniors lessons, soccer camps and clinics, as well as an adult soccer league will be offered from the sports complex. The club will also organize Galaxy II testing there next month.

“I think anything football-related,” Braun said, “we can’t wait to do it there.”

The Galaxy will also have the opportunity to rename the sports complex.

The club has yet to decide on a new name, Braun said, but it will likely be linked to the Galaxy Soccer Center, located opposite the complex.

Torrance’s new lease, with the Galaxy in tow, goes into effect Jan. 1.

The city also plans to replace the artificial turf at the complex by April. And the moment that happens, Braun said, there will likely be a brand new LA Galaxy to go with it.

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