The Los Angeles City Council Wednesday approved plans for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ $300 million movie museum on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s campus, despite opposition from Miracle Mile neighborhood groups.
The council voted 13-0 to back the museum, which the Academy hopes to open by 2017. The Academy is best known around the world for giving out the Academy Awards for best works in movies each year.
The museum, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, will be in the old May Co. department store building on Wilshire Boulevard, and will include a giant, spherical building that will serve as a theater.
Councilman Tom LaBonge, who has championed the museum, urged his colleagues to approve the project, saying that “we’ll have the door open for all of us to learn about the great history of motion pictures and inspire young people.”
“This is going to give great joy and knowledge for those who visit it,” LaBonge said.
But some residents living around the site expressed concern that it will worsen traffic congestion and introduce unwanted digital signs on a stretch of Wilshire known as the Miracle Mile, and said they plan to keep fighting the project.
Mike Eveloff, president of Fix the City — the group that has been trying to halt the project — said that they are considering suing, along with all other options.
“Everyone always prefers not going to court whenever possible. We’ll see if it’s possible,” Eveloff said.
Eveloff’s group has sued to try to stop other projects in the past, and recently halted the implementation of a planning blueprint that would have allowed increased density in the Hollywood area.
James O’Sullivan, a Miracle Mile resident and vice president of Fix the City, said the Academy museum project does not offer enough parking, and the 800 spaces the Academy says it is leasing will only be available at night.
Meanwhile, the estimated 5,000 people who are expected to visit the museum will be sharing the existing parking spaces now used by LACMA, O’Sullivan said.
The residents also said they oppose the allowance of digital signs at the museum, which is located along a scenic roadway.
“I don’t care if they cut it back,” O’Sullivan said. “One digital sign is just too much.”
O’Sullivan, an actor, said he and other residents like the idea of a movie museum at the May Co. department store site, but not the current version of it.
They had been hoping the building would be used to expand LACMA’s art museum space, with a section for the movie museum.
The Academy is paying LACMA $36 million to lease the department store site for 55 years, with an option to renew for another 55 years.
— City News Service
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