Los Angeles will finally get its big movie museum, assuming the thing doesn't get sued to kingdom come in the next few months. Today, the LA City Council gave its blessing to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the people who put on the Oscars)—the project will renovate the 1939 May Company department store building on the edge of the LACMA campus in the Miracle Mile and add an enormous glass sphere to its back end, all designed (rather controversially) by starchitect Renzo Piano. It'll include a 1,000-seat theater and 10,000-square-foot viewing deck (both in the sphere), plus a cafe, piazza, galleries, smaller theaters, and an education center. And yes, the May Company's golden pillar will be adorned with an Oscar statue. (See all the before and after images here.) The Academy has been working on a movie museum for about a decade now, first in Hollywood and eventually here at Fairfax and Wilshire.
The Academy has raised a heap of money (with help from its celebrity fundraisers, naturally) and says it's ready to start work this *fall so it can open the museum by late 2017. But all that's basically blood in the water for the anti-development crowd, who are now threatening to sue to stop the project. Fix the City, the group that helped put a stop to much-needed new planning guidelines for Hollywood that would've promoted transit-oriented development, "sent a scathing email to the planning and land use committee Tuesday, accusing city officials of ramrodding the film museum through without enough analysis and discussion of its effect on traffic and parking in the Miracle Mile," the LA Times reported this morning. They say they intend to sue and stop the museum.
The museum will share parking with LACMA and has also arranged for 800 other spaces nearby, which should be able to accommodate a capacity crowd. Still, three neighborhood associations in the area oppose the museum because of its large theater, "which they fear will clog streets for movie premieres and other events." The LADOT found that the museum would only contribute "a slight increase" to rush hour traffic.
Of negotiations between the museum and Fix the City, the museum's managing director told the LAT "I'm hopeful," while Fix the City's lawyer said "I'm not optimistic."
· L.A. panel OKs Academy Museum, but objections are heard [LAT]
· See How the Movie Museum Will Transform the Miracle Mile [Curbed LA]
· A Complete Tour Through The Future Academy Movie Museum [Curbed LA]