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Broad Museum Proposal Returns to City Council  

By Lookout Staff

March 22, 2010 -- After a lengthy delay, the proposal to build an art museum housing Edythe and Eli Broad’s world-famous contemporary art collection in Santa Monica’s Civic Center returns to the City Council on Tuesday. The council was originally scheduled to vote on the item in January, but that meeting was cancelled.

There are slight differences between the proposal on Tuesday’s agenda and the one that was supposed to go before the council in January. The major change involves an increase to the amount the Broad Foundations (The Broad Art Foundation and The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation) would pay toward the design and construction of the museum. The Foundations had originally proposed $40 million to $60 million and are now offering $50 million to $70 million.

Other details of the deal remain the same, including the City granting a 99-year lease at $1 per year to the Foundations for a 2.5-acre property on Main Street between the County Courthouse and the Civic Auditorium. The proposal calls for the City to put up $1 million toward the design of the museum, as well as absorb all fees associated with permitting (City estimate of $900,000) and pay an estimated $750,000 to prepare the site for development.

But there is no guarantee this museum will ever have a Santa Monica address. The Foundations are also in talks with the cities of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. The Santa Monica proposal calls for the Foundations to reimburse the City for all “out-of-pocket expenses” associated with the deal if another City is selected for the project.

Also, to address “the risk that the subject property could be tied up in pursuit of a failed museum project,” the Foundations have six months “to initiate development” of the museum.

The council in November instructed City staff to negotiate with the Foundations on a deal for a Santa Monica museum. There was enthusiasm for the concept from the City leaders, although Council member Bobby Shriver voiced caution about some of the details on the table at the time, an opinion he still had when speaking with the Lookout News in January. “I don’t think we’re there yet,” he said.

 

Shriver added, “The City is putting up too much for what they’re getting. But I would look forward to further hard-headed negotiations.”

Also on Tuesday, the council will consider a fare increase for the Big Blue Bus from 75 cents to up to $1.50 for the general public and from 25 cents to up to 75 cents for seniors and the disabled. Additional fare adjustments and the introduction of a 30-day pass are also proposed.

The cost increases would generate up to an estimated $4.2 million for the Big Blue Bus, which is currently operating on a $7.2 million structural deficit. The Santa Monica system has the lowest fares in the county, according to a City staff report.

Another fare increase the council will consider on Tuesday is for the Santa Monica Pier Carousel. A City staff proposal calls for the cost of a ride to go up from $1 to $2 for people over 14.

The charge for children up to 14 would increase from 50 cents to $1. Also, the age for free rides would go down from 6 and under to 3 and under.

According to a City staff report, “The proposed rate adjustment will align the ticket prices with other comparable carousels and provide increased revenue that can be used to offset the Carousel’s operating deficit and provide $50,000 in support to the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation for the 2010 Twilight Dance Series.”

Due to a budget shortfall of $92,000, the Twilight Dance Series has been threatened with radical changes to its program or possible cancellation.

The Pier Restoration Corporation (PRC) has made a plea to the public for donations so a seven-concert series could take place this summer. The City gave $32,000 and another $29,000 in donations have come from businesses and the public. See Donations Received for Pier Concert Series.

The PRC’s Board of Directors will meet on Wednesday to discuss the state of the concert series.

 

“The City is putting up too much for what they’re getting. But I would look forward to further hard-headed negotiations.”
 Bobby Shriver

 


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