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Museum Still Possible at Civic Center Site  

By Lookout Staff

September 16, 2010 --A few weeks after Santa Monica was snubbed by Eli Broad on the selection for his modern art museum, the City Council on Tuesday directed staff to look at other options for the Civic Center property that had been designated for the facility.

Council member Richard Bloom said through the City’s negotiation with Broad on the museum, a model was created for how the 2.5-acre property between the County Courthouse and the Civic Auditorium could be used.

“If staff can come up with a way to go out for bid, use some kind of a mechanism to see what other proposals are out there, I think we ought to explore that now,” Bloom said. “Then if that doesn’t happen, if nothing suits our fancy so to speak, then we need to decide what we’re going to do with that space.”

Bloom said the deal with Broad set the standard for what Santa Monica should seek. Broad had offered to build the museum, contribute his art collection, endow it and make it world-class.

City Manager Rod Gould said he welcomed the direction from the council.

“Staff would appreciate the council’s direction to take some time and have some latitude to solicit interest in this site for a cultural facility or perhaps a museum,” Gould said.

The City had negotiated a deal with Broad earlier this year for his foundations to house the world-famous modern art collection in Santa Monica. He made a similar deal with the City of Los Angeles and flirted with other municipalities. Art enthusiasts eagerly waited several months for the billionaire to make a final decision. Last month, Broad chose the Downtown Los Angeles location on Grand Avenue.

Mayor Bobby Shriver said Broad had told council members in private conversations that he eventually planned to vacate the Barnard Way storage building containing much of his art collection. Shriver said that building could possibly be involved in a new museum project. Also, City Attorney Marsha Moutrie said Broad had offered to loan his art to a future Santa Monica museum.

 


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