LOS ANGELES-The City Council here has approved a $1-billion plan by moguls Philip Anschutz and Rupert Murdoch to convert 27 acres of privately owned land around Downtown’s Staples Center into a bustling shopping and entertainment district.

Elated officials at LA Arena Land Co., the Anschutz-Murdoch development entity, said after the vote that they hope to break ground on the project next year. Anschutz is the Denver billionaire who helped to build Staples Center in the late 1990s. Murdoch’s Fox Entertainment Group owns several TV networks and newspapers around the world and also owns the LA Dodgers.

Though the council voted 11-0 in favor of the project, the development team didn’t get everything it wanted—at least, not yet. The council decided to delay voting on whether to provide LA Arena Land with a multimillion-dollar subsidy to build a 1,200-room hotel inside the zone, on the southern rim of Downtown.

The project is expected to bring a 7,000-seat theater, retail and office space, several hundred apartment units and many nightclubs to a part of Downtown that was nearly given up for dead before Staples Center opened two years ago. Staples Center alone now brings about 1 million visitors a year to the area for sporting and other events.

At least one hotel is also included in the project’s plans. The city wants to see the lodging facility built first to help boost the number of multi-day conferences that can be held at the nearby LA Convention Center, but the development team says it would need city subsidies to make the hotel’s construction feasible.

The City Council is expected to vote on the subsidy issue later this year.

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