When the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is finally completed, someone will have to make an understated, Oscar-bait drama to depict the development saga of this troubled project, which after years of languishing in Hollywood finally landed next to LACMA on the Miracle Mile. As plans there progressed, it ran into even more trouble—the project was approved in June by the LA City Council, but couldn't get permits due to a lawsuit threat from anti-development group Fix the City. Last month, they finally reached a somewhat mysterious settlement with Fix the City that'll involve some kind of private traffic mitigation plan. It appears that was the final bureaucratic hurdle (but don't quote us on that), and now, at long last, construction will soon begin on the museum, a Renzo Piano-designed renovation of and addition to the 1930s May Company department store building. Demolition crews are being brought in to make way for the new construction to commence in March 2016, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
First up will be the demolition of the rear addition that was put on the building back in 1946. This will bring the May Co. building back to its original 1939 form and make room for the giant spherical theater and observation deck they're attaching on the rear. Structural tests have been done to make sure the weight of the 1,000-seat spherical theater can be held in place.
Fix the City had the Academy on hold for months this summer while it ironed out plans to minimize traffic and parking woes in the already congested area. While trying to avoid that lawsuit, the Academy had some time to kill, so they occupied themselves with some general maintenance projects on the old building. Workers at the museum kept busy doing the unglamorous job of removing additional asbestos and sealed up methane leakage.
Now, as a result of the settlement, Fix the City appears to be working with the Academy closely on traffic solutions. Bill Kramer, the museum's managing director, says they have "a great relationship" with Fix the City now, but the two months of lawsuit drama has delayed the opening of the museum yet again to spring of 2018.—Jeff Wattenhofer
Academy Museum Delayed as Costs Grow [THR]
Academy Movie Museum Finally Set to Begin on Miracle Mile [Curbed LA]
The Academy Movie Museum On the Miracle Mile is Happening as Long as It's Not Killed By a Lawsuit [Curbed LA]