I’m not a big sports fan, but I am a fan of urban development of all varieties… and from that perspective the new Huntington Park is pretty amazing. I’ve been familiar with the area it sits for over a decade now as my first visit to the old Mekka nightclub (that is now the Buggyworks Condo Building) revealed a dirty abandoned gas station where the stadium would eventually be built.
Similarly, I still recall my first game at the old Cooper Stadium over two decades ago when I was in kindergarten. And I’m glad that Anne & I got to take our son there last year for the final Clippers home game. But the location around the old stadium was a drag. A sea of parking lots, a graveyard, and a handful of auto body shops. There was little energy outside the stadium.
Opening day at Huntington Park was the exact opposite. Hundreds of people outside the stadium trying to catch glimpses from the open viewing spots on the sidewalk. Dozens of restaurants and bars nearby will full patios, live music, and energetic fans. The stadium is seated in between several large condo buildings, a music pavilion, parking garages, offices, and a hockey stadium. There is density there. There is energy there. It feels like what a downtown city should feel like.
I didn’t go to the game today, but I did walk around and take some photos of the action outside the stadium. Check em out: