Updated 10:37 am: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences started working on its big Hollywood motion picture museum years ago. It bought up land around Vine and Homewood beginning in 2005, spending nearly $50 million. It commissioned plans from French starchitect Christian de Portzamparc. More recently, it closed the Big Lots and KFC and cleared some of the land, and it said it would make improvements to its many parcels while it waited to raise the money to build its museum. Last night, however, its Board of Governors voted to sign a memorandum of understanding with LACMA "to work in good faith in establishing the Academy’s movie museum in the historic May Company building, currently known as LACMA West" (at Fairfax and Wilshire). Whoa, we did not see that coming.
The press releases says that the Academy "hopes to sign a long-term lease," but for now will start working on "plans for fundraising, design, exhibitions, visitor experience, and modifications to this historic site," which will eventually hold 300,000 square feet of permanent and rotating exhibits. So what about LACMA's Studio Pali Fekete Architects-designed plans for LACMA West, which have been on hold for a while due to (of course) fundraising troubles? Update: a rep for LACMA tells us via email: "while this MOU means we're working together in good faith towards realizing the new museum it's not a guarantee of this definitely happening but we are both committed to doing all we can to make it happen. Previous plans are therefore on hold."
And, much more pressingly, what about all that blighty Academy-owned land around Vine St.? The Academy promised improvements on 3.69 acres and released a plan in May to add landscaping, public access, and programming. A public review period for that proposal ended in June. We're trying to find out more.
· Historic Alliance Opens Door to Academy Museum at LACMA [AMPAS]
· May Company Makeover: Rehab of LACMA West [Curbed LA]
· Academy Has Big Plans for Hollywood Parcels, But No Museum Yet [Curbed LA]