The LA Clippers’ new arena is looming over the home of a lonely elderly woman and her dog (Exclusive)

By maaz

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Teresa Martínez has lived at 10226 S. For more than two decades. Living on Prairie Avenue. It’s a simple 795-square-foot house situated on a 4,217-square-foot plot of land she finds difficult to navigate with walkers. A 70-year-old retired woman lives alone with her two-year-old husky, Blue, who runs toward the closed chain-link fence at the end of the empty driveway when she hears a loud noise.

Blue is getting plenty of exercise on that small patch of concrete due to the constant noise just a few steps from the Martinez’s front door. Construction began on the $2 billion, 915,000-square-foot Intuit Dome — the LA Clippers’ new arena starting next season — in 2022, and although developers secured most of the surrounding properties in the arena’s footprint, Martínez’s home Was the lone holdout. His home is now surrounded by a huge sports/recreation complex, separated from the grounds by a massive concrete wall.

Martínez often yells for Blue to come back inside his beige house, which is covered in stucco and has most of the windows covered with security bars. “The construction noise is really bad,” he told The Messenger in Spanish. “I tried to talk to him but he ignored me. The trucks were making a lot of noise and the whole house was shaking and I turned the power on and off several times and it destroyed two of my TVs.”

It’s not him who has decided not to sell the house — that would be the homeowner, a longtime friend of his who asked not to be identified. “I had no interest in selling and they had enough space to prepare the grounds,” he told the Messenger. “I didn’t want to sell and I don’t think they needed it anymore.”

Last week, the NBA announced that the 2026 NBA All-Star Game will take place at the Intuit Dome. It is the latest major sporting event to take place in Inglewood. Just across the street is SoFi Stadium, the $5 billion home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, which opened in 2020 and will host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, 2027 Super Bowl and 2028 Summer Olympics.

Meanwhile, a high gray wall now divides the Intuit Dome from the church, preschool, apartments, housing complex and rest of the community it is being incorporated into. The wall is straight until you reach Martínez’s house. Then she turns up and to the left to make room for her house.

10226 S.  Prairie Avenue, covered by the LA Clippers' new Intuit Dome arena
Whoever said ‘good fences make good neighbours’ must have had this in mind.Arash Markazi/The Messenger

basic plans, when it was known as the “Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center Project”, called for the wall to be straightened and the portion of the house to be incorporated into the arena’s footprint. “There are no properties remaining within the Intuit Dome footprint,” a Clippers spokesperson told the Messenger this week. Nevertheless, plans for the arena apparently changed after construction began and the owner refused to sell.

“From day one, we have prioritized the community and our Inglewood neighborhood,” the Clippers said in a statement emailed to The Messenger. This property, which is not within the area’s footprint, is no exception. The property owner was contacted several times about the sale of the property, and he declined all offers. The developers have maintained a cooperative relationship with the owner of this property which included the removal of a tree and upgraded landscaping, which aided the appeal of the property. “We look forward to building good relationships with the property owner and its tenant, as well as our other neighbors in Inglewood.”

10226 S. The Prairie home, built in 1928, was last sold on June 1, 1982, for $30,000. According to real estate websites like Zillow and Willow, it is currently worth 20 times that. However, the home is not listed for sale.

Martínez, who pays her friend below-market rent, shakes her head as she looks at the big barrier and the stadium lights in front of her. There used to be a large tree where the wall stood, which provided shade as he sat on his path. There was a bakery and a catering company down the street and over the years he had become friends with many of his neighbors. They are all gone now.

“I remember the bakery and there were little apartments there,” said Martínez. “I miss real neighbors. I don’t know where the bakery owner went. I loved buying bread there. The bread was really good.”

Martínez’s lamentations underscore a larger problem – the disintegration of a community’s identity.

LA Clippers Intuit Dome surrounds small home on Prairie Avenue.LA Clippers Intuit Dome surrounds small home on Prairie Avenue.
This overhead view shows the concrete wall surrounding Teresa’s house above and to the left.Google Map

“In terms of the impact of the Intuit Dome on Inglewood, I would be concerned about gentrification,” says Andrew Zimbalist, the Robert Woods Professor Emeritus of Economics at Smith College and author of several books on economics and sports. With the construction of the SoFi Stadium and its surrounding land. That neighborhood has already been substantially changed. Often, tenants do not have a place to live. You either get sports facilities by buying land, or now there is higher ground – income housing. If you’re pushing out low-income residents, and they have no place to go in an area that already has a tremendous housing problem, that could have serious consequences.”

The Intuit Dome is scheduled to open before the start of the Clippers’ season in October. It will be a state-of-the-art arena featuring the first two-sided “Halo Board” with approximately 38,375 square feet of digital canvas, the equivalent of more than 3,592 60-inch televisions and 233 million LEDs. Meanwhile, Martínez will wait until the field is finished to buy a new television for her home.

Martínez told The Messenger that she is not a sports fan and does not know much about basketball, although her grandson is a Lakers fan. She said she could go to a Clippers game to see the new arena if someone wanted to take her, but she is having a hard time paying the rent every month. She is also trying to find a caregiver to help her with her mobility, as she is having a hard time after being diagnosed with a damaged nerve in her shoulder.

“It will be great when the construction is finished but it will be more dangerous when the games take place,” Martínez said. “Whether they win or lose, there are going to be a lot of battles. But this is my home. They want to increase the fare but I can’t pay any more. I only have what Social Security is giving me to pay my bills and rent. It is not enough.”

Michael Manville, professor and chair of urban planning at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, says Inglewood and communities like it face many challenges when new areas are built, the biggest of which is a massive building Which remains vacant for a long time.

“In an ideal world you’d want to add more teams to fewer stadiums, so that if you’re going to dedicate a large chunk of valuable land to a game, you can use it as efficiently as possible,” Manville says. “If the city is interested in revitalization, a more promising way to do so would be to create space for year-round jobs and housing.”

When Martínez looks around the place she has called her home since 2001, she gets emotional as she thinks about her husband, who passed away a few years ago, leaving her alone in a neighborhood that Left behind a neighborhood that looks completely different from the one they came from decades ago.

“I have been living here for many years. I don’t want to go and I have my dog ​​and he has lots of room to run and play,” she said. “He is very playful. I hope I can stay here. Let’s see if they sell and if they’ll give me the money to get out of here. I have been here for so many years. I don’t know where to go.”

Blue Dog lives in a house that surrounds the LA Clippers' Intuit Dome arena.Blue Dog lives in a house that surrounds the LA Clippers' Intuit Dome arena.
Blue Dog lives in a house that surrounds the LA Clippers’ Intuit Dome arena.Arash Markazi/The Messenger

The homeowner said he doesn’t expect the Clippers to make any more offers, but if they’re ever interested in straightening his crooked concrete wall, as was originally planned, he’d be open to hearing from them. Are ready for.

“I want to keep the property and have no interest in selling,” he insisted. “I haven’t thought about selling, but in the future, who knows? Maybe I can change my mind in the future. Maybe five years from now, 20 years from now. I don’t know at the moment but I am not planning to sell in the near future.

Martínez smiles as she cradles Blue, named for her blue eyes, after being told that the Clippers’ main color is blue. Maybe there’s a chance Blue the Dog could be included dodge the condor As the Clippers’ mascot next season when the Clippers move next door. “It would be nice,” said Martinez. “We would like the construction to be over so we can meet our new neighbors.”