After 57 years, the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena is being slowly torn down. The arena struggled in recent years to keep up with other local venues, and once the last few columns are demolished, construction will begin on a new stadium that will host Major League Soccer, according to the LA Times.
Built in 1958, the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena had been home to USC and UCLA basketball, the LA Lakers, Clippers and Kings. But the arena failed to compete with neighboring arenas like the Staples Center and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
"It's at a point where it can go quietly in hospice and make way for some vibrant thing that will serve the people of Los Angeles well," said Louis Naidorf, the building's design architect told the LA Times.
By 2012, the arena and the neighboring Coliseum were at a financial standstill after having lost more than $7 million due to negligent management, which faced scrutiny after rave concertgoers overdosed on ecstasy. Corruption charges were also filed against the former management of the property.
The Coliseum, now home to USC Trojan Football and temporary home of the Los Angeles Rams, made plans for an estimated $270 million renovation.
USC Director of Equipment Operations Todd Hewitt was a ball boy for USC Trojan Basketball at the LA Memorial Sports Arena in the 60s, and remembers the stadium fondly.
"In the late 50s, it was a pretty cool arena, and it was a nice place, even the old Rocky Movies were filmed there," said Hewitt.
After USC basketball moved to the Galen Center, he worked as a technical advisor for the movie "North Dallas 40" and helped on a Bose headphones commercial that featured NFL player Richard Seymour, both filmed in the arena. He said the stadium was starkly different from the one he remembered.
"It was so archaic and old, and just [so] decaying that I didn't even remember it," Hewitt said. "You know that saying 'never see your hero?' It definitely wasn't the same," he added.
Bruce Springsteen famously nicknamed the arena "the dump that jumps," and chose it over the other popular LA venues for his concert in March. Last year, a rally for former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders attracted 30,000 people to the arena, its biggest crowd in years.
"It had that old-school vibe and that's what I loved about it. It was nostalgic. It had history. I guess you could call it the Wrigley Field of indoor stadiums because it was just so old and so kind of authentic and cool," said Danny Hizami, who owns Figueroa Philly Cheese Steak across the street from the arena, told the LA Times.
The arena's demolition has been discussed for a number of years since it was operating at $750,000 annual losses. The arena also needed significant repairs.
The arena held a one-day auction in July for items including stadium seating, turnstiles, concession stands, chairs, scoreboards, speakers, restaurant equipment, hockey goals, lockers and other stadium equipment.
Now, all that remains of the arena are a few columns that stand solemnly, waiting to be torn down to make way for the city's next big stadium.
Reach staff reporter Hamdah Salhut here.