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L.A. city politicians set to debate $30-million Cirque du Soleil loan

July 29, 2009 |  9:30 am


It could become a major tourist attraction. Or it could be an extravagance that the city just can't afford.

Today, the L.A. City Council is set to debate a plan to issue a $30-million loan that would allow the owner of Hollywood & Highland to retrofit the Kodak Theatre so it can house a decade of performances by Cirque du Soleil.

CIM Group currently leases the Kodak Theatre within the mall and hopes to bring the acrobatic circus company to the theater beginning 2011. CIM has agreed that in exchange for the loan, they and their partners would pledge to create at least 858 jobs.

Council President Eric Garcetti, whose district includes Hollywood & Highland, is in favor of the loan. But Councilman Dennis Zine, who represents parts of the West San Fernando Valley, is arguing that the $30 million could be more effective if it were spread across the city.

City officials say that the average Cirque du Soleil ticket is expected to cost $110 per person and that the Kodak would host at least 368 Cirque shows a year. If average attendance reaches 60% to 65% of capacity, the borrowers would be able to repay the loan, according to Ninoos Benjamin, economic development director with the city's development department.

What do you think?

-- David Ng

Photo: Company members from Cirque du Soleil. Credit: Getty Images