It was only a year ago that the Chargers new practice facility was simply a few mounds of dirt.
Fast forward to Thursday, and the Bolts vision is clearly coming to life in El Segundo.
"It was literally a year today that we had the groundbreaking," said Fred Maas, the Chargers Chief of Staff & Counsel. "I've been in the development business for most of my adult life, over 30 years, and it never ceases to amaze me how much can be done in a year. This really represents that.
"It really is incredible. I was here two weeks ago and you could see the noticeable change," Maas added. "Once the drywall goes up, things happen fast. They've just done a great job … I've been very impressed."
Abraham Garcia, the Chargers Director of Project Management, also marveled at the change over the past 365 days.
"There's a building now," Garcia said with a laugh. "At the groundbreaking, we all saw just mounds of dirt. We had just started to move some dirt around and grade the site back then.
"Now, the building's exterior has gone up — all the frame, all the concrete, the structural members — everything is up," Garcia added. "Now we're just filling in the gaps with walls and beams and everything else. A lot of progress has been made."
The Chargers release new photos of the inside of their new building.
The Chargers held a media tour of the new facility Thursday morning, taking reporters and news cameras on a 30-minute trip through multiple spaces of the nearly 150,00-square foot building that was designed by Gensler Sports.
The biggest takeaway? Chargers players are at the heart of the design and layout.
An expansive locker room (with a lounge) sits adjacent to updated equipment, training and weight rooms, giving players all they need in one central location. The building, which sits on 14 acres, also features three natural grass practice fields.
And when it comes time to take a break, there's a relaxation pool with a grill and patio area in the players' outdoor courtyard.
"We've got an incredible group of men here who represent this team and have made sacrifices obviously in the temporary facility we've been in now," Maas said. "It was the goal of the Spanos family and the leadership here to create an environment that was second-to-none in the league.
"I think we got that kind of individuals, and this is the kind of place they deserve," Maas added.
The tour also included glimpses of the auditorium, position rooms, a lounge for coaches, an indoor/outdoor dining area (complete with a coffee bar) and the media center.
Renderings show a modern and vibrant vibe that emulates from any aspect of the building.
"It's really intended, and hopefully you can see through the imagery, to be emblematic of our brand," Maas said. "Really be something that's serious about football, serious about winning football, but also something that's fun, that really reaches out and speaks to our broader audience how they can be incorporated here.
"Hopefully this will articulate who we are as a team," Maas added.
The exterior of the entire building takes the shape of a Bolt, which Maas said was a natural choice for architecture and branding when designing the facility.
"As you go outside, the Bolt really was the inspiration for what we can do," Maas said. "And how do we take some of the exciting things around that imagery and integrate it into the building in a way that fit and didn't look hokey, but genuine to what our brand was.
"I think Gensler … did a brilliant job of integrating it throughout the building," Maas added.
The Bolts new facility will be just miles from both SoFi Stadium and Los Angeles International Airport. And the Chargers will soon share a city with other professional Los Angeles-based sports teams, as the Kings, Lakers and Sparks all have their practice facilities nearby.
"We had our hearts set on the South Bay when we started this process five years ago," Maas said. "We always thought this was just an important focal point. We had saw a burgeoning fanbase here and it had so many positive elements — from the proximity to SoFi, proximity to LAX, and all the teams that are here and the synergies of the other teams that we had on the South Bay. It was just an exciting opportunity to kind of blossomed and came to life a couple of years ago.
"They've been great neighbors, great friends, they've participated in the process, they've reached out, they've been collaborative," Maas added about the nearby teams. "I couldn't ask for a better group of teams or people to be associated and be close to so it's been great. And [the city of] El Segundo, I can't say enough good things about them. They've just been terrific to work with."
Garcia said as many as 250 construction workers have helped on the project, and that the facility currently has more than 150 workers.
As far as the future timeline, Maas said the Chargers will integrate into the building next spring.
"Hopefully the plan is that we have the draft here next year and then move in later in the spring or the summer," Maas said. "But we'll have training camp here in 2024."
When the Bolts do move into their new digs, it will surely be one-of-a-kind.
"We want to have a building that doesn't look like anything else throughout the city," Garcia said. "We want people to know when they see it from PCH [Pacific Coast Highway] or they come up to the building that they know it's the Chargers building.
"If you compare this to any typical office building, it doesn't look like anything in the rest of the city," Garcia said. "This is a statement piece that says, 'We're here and this is our home.'"
Get an inside look at the Chargers new state-of-the-art practice facility while under construction in El Segundo, CA.
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