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Broad museum plan for downtown L.A. gets mixed reviews

When should officials give a billionaire a 99-year lease on city-owned land worth millions in downtown L.A. for $1 a year?

In the high-stakes game to land a grand art museum proposed by Eli Broad — the developer, philanthropist and political force — such enticements mark the going rate.

Broad has spent several years pursuing a Westside location for a museum to house his coveted 2,000-piece contemporary art collection. In recent weeks, however, downtown Los Angeles has emerged as a leading contender, competing with a lot in the Santa Monica Civic Center.

In return for the $1-a-year lease, Broad would pay for the museum's construction and fund a $200-million endowment to pay the facility's operating costs.

Downtown boosters say a Broad museum could kick-start the stalled $3-billion Grand Avenue project, although Broad himself acknowledges that the museum alone would probably not be enough to move the project forward immediately. The mega-development, which would include residential towers, a five-star hotel and upscale stores on land now owned by the city and county of Los Angeles, has been on hold because of the recession.


Critics of the museum plan scorn it as an unreasonable giveaway. They include at least one prominent elected official, L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, a longtime critic of the Grand Avenue project. He has questioned whether cutting such a deal with Broad makes sense.

"We're concerned about whether the taxpayers are getting the best deal that they could get for arguably the most valuable real estate in downtown L.A.," said Paul Novak, Antonovich's planning deputy.

Read the full story here

--Rong-Gong Lin II

 
Comments () | Archives (3)

Why would they want this in the downtown area when we already have the whole Miracle Mile area designated as 'museum row'? I wouldn't go downtown. It stinks and it is not safe at any time of day.

I come to Los Angeles two or three times a year. I will be there this coming week to see a Dodger game and go to the Taper Forum for a play. Since I always stay in Little Tokyo on my visits, I would be happy to see the museum built along Grand Avenue. What a treasure to have the Broad art collection housed along the street that has the Taper, the Ahmanson, Disney Hall, and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

I know I'm not an LA resident, but my visits add to the tax receipts of the city and my spending helps the merchants, hotels, and restaurants. I think this is a wonderful project for Grand Avenue.

To all you Naysayers out there, I suppose you would prefer to see this project go to the City of Santa Monica, along with all the potential and lucrative revenue for the City of Los Angeles. Yes, the parcel is a very pricey piece of real estate, and how long exactly has it been vacant? Best in my view to give the property to Broad, who has an amazing record of Philanthropic pursuits.

Eli Broad via his Foundation who is also behind the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles High School #9 School of Visual & Performing Arts (VAPA) and is a regent at the Smithsonian Institution. Broad along with others from the Grand Avenue Partners (GAP), which includes all the arts institutions along Grand Avenue have focused on revitalizing Bunker Hill as a premier cultural corridor. The countless millions that he has had helped invest in The City of Los Angeles will reap untold benefits, both financial as well as cultural for our City. The 99 year lease at a dollar a year is a small price to pay for Mr Broad's desire to help bring Los Angeles into the League of World Class Cities.

It is high time that Mr Antonovich step down from his position on the County Board of Supervisors. It seems, as if it is his myopic vision that Los Angeles remain a suburban backwater, impossible to navigate without car and polycentric in nature, with no real cohesive showcase center.

L.A. will never be able to climb out of the mess created over the years by giving everything away to greedy developers with complete disregard for our history and lacking any visionary urban planning. Give Eli Broad the land and allow Downtown Los Angeles to flourish once again as a center of Transit, Business, Residence and Culture.


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