Forum to be remodeled and reopened

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(CNS) – The owners of Madison Square Garden have developed an ambitious plan to turn the faded Forum into a juggernaut that would challenge the region’s big arenas, including Staples Center and its owner, the politically connected AEG, it was reported today.

MSG, as the company is known, has paid $23.5 million for the Forum and will start work this year on a $50 million renovation, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Details are to be released in the fall, but the makeover is intended to turn the Forum into a top-flight concert hall and will take at least a year, MSG President Hank Ratner said in remarks reported by the newspaper.

The Forum once was Southern California’s preeminent entertainment venue. But the famous round building fell on hard times after the Lakers and Kings moved downtown, and venues in up-and-coming neighborhoods nabbed the concert business. In the end, the Forum was bought by the Faithful Central Bible Church.

“The addition of the Forum is a perfect complement to the Madison Square Garden arena — it now allows us to have world-class venues in both New York and Los Angeles, linking the top two entertainment markets in the country,” Ratner said.

A revitalized Forum would provide an economic lift to Inglewood but faces competition from other entertainment venues amid a challenging climate in the concert business.

The owners of Staples Center said they don’t fear a rivalry with the East Coast impresarios. They were quick to raise questions about the security of the neighborhood surrounding the Forum and dismissed it as a “class B” venue, The Times reported.

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