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Downtown Officially in the Running for Broad's New Museum

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In a major coup, scrappy and nearly bankrupt Los Angeles has emerged as a third contender—joining Beverly Hills and Santa Monica—for Eli Broad’s planned art museum. Today the Los Angeles Grand Avenue Authority authorized discussions on the possibility of leasing a plot of land—a site right next to the Redcat Gallery on lower Grand Ave—to the philanthropist for the art museum. "This is a great opportunity for the city," said City Councilwoman Jan Perry, who sits on the Grand Avenue Authority board, in a statement. “A world class city like Los Angeles is the perfect location for a museum of this caliber. I look forward to working with The Broad Foundation in exploring this project and hope that they will seriously consider downtown as they move forward."

Under this proposal, the museum and associated parking structure would rise on lower Grand, taking up part of the site known as parcel L (currently being used a parking lot). The lot is across the street, and down a block from Parcel Q, from the site of the planned Frank Gerhy-tower designed hotel, housing, and retail development.

What this all comes down is tourism dollars and cultural cache, so Los Angeles obviously has a strong financial stake in luring Broad’s museum to downtown. While the Broad Foundations hasn't indicated which of the three cities will be picked for the museum, last week the Courier covered the death match between Santa Monica and Beverly Hills for the museum, and reported a decision would come in the spring. Via the Courier: “Mr. Broad is considering three locations,” said Karen Denne of The Broad Art Foundation. “We are looking forward to making the final decision this spring."

Meanwhile, Related president Bill Witte, who has overseen plans for the now-delayed mixed-use development, was also present at today’s meeting, and was positive about the idea of Broad’s museum coming downtown. “It’s a good thing," he said. He also weighed in today about the status of the stalled Related project. "It’s not just the financial markets that have to recover, it’s the real estate market,” said Witte. And he declined to give any sort of time frame for when the Frank Gehry-designed project would break ground. “The one thing I’ve learned is not to speculate.”

According to Perry, a ground-breaking date isn't even being talked about at this stage of the discussions. But presumably, Broad would be interested in seeing his museum break ground fairly soon, and likely sooner than the Gehry project.

The next meeting planned for Grand Authority Board is next month.

Shot of the proposed site, which would rise from lower Grand to the street level of upper Grand

And a map showing the proximity to Grand Ave

· Grand Ave archives [Curbed LA]