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Should SaMo Tear Down Its Mid-Century Civic Auditorium?

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Santa Monica is considering bulldozing their Welton Becket-designed Civic Auditorium after shutting it down June 30--the glory days of the 55-year-old performance venue (it hosted the Oscars for most of the sixties) are long gone, and now it mostly serves as a backdrop for small trade shows. It currently operates $2 million in the red, annually, the Santa Monica Daily Press reports. Columnist Bill Bauer bemoans the placement of the Broad Stage near Santa Monica College, arguing it should've been built closer to the auditorium to create a "world-class arts venue" downtown. While the auditorium could get refurbished, it would cost $50 million to properly renovate the space and the city has no money for that. Instead, Bauer says, tear the old girl down and build a "modestly sized, outdoor amphitheater or architecturally exciting, flexible, indoor creative space for community meetings, music, dances and performances."
· Curtains for the Civic [SMDP]