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Could Eli Broad's Art Museum Be Headed to Grand Avenue?

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, January 22, 2010, at 04:05PM
Eli Broad Ed Fuentes

Eli Broad's foundations will be talking Grand Avenue property with city and county leaders on Monday.

Billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad has long been one of the Grand Avenue Project's biggest backers. It appears there's a chance he could become one of its developers as well.

On Monday, the Broad Foundations will be one of the parties involved in closed session negotiations regarding Grand Avenue development. While none of the parties involved have said that Broad's proposed art museum is the subject of those talks, boosters have been making a push to get Broad to build Downtown.

The discussion will take place at a meeting of the Grand Avenue Authority, the intergovernmental body in charge of negotiations for the Grand Avenue parcels.

Public talks about the museum's siting have been centered on the west side, first in Beverly Hills and more recently in Santa Monica. The $40 to $60 million facility will house the 76-year-old Broad's private collection, and will be built and operated by the Broad Art Foundation.

Broad is no stranger to Bunker Hill. He helped lead fundraising efforts for the Walt Disney Concert Hall and recently pledged $30-million to MOCA. New museum head Jeffrey Deitch recently told Modern Art Notes that he has been pushing Broad to locate on Grand. Central City Association head Carol Schatz is also said to be doing her part to sway Broad's decision.

Could those efforts be paying off? Broad did tell the L.A. Times two weeks ago that there is an unnamed site under consideration.

All four government-owned parcels of the Grand Avenue site are currently promised to Grand Avenue Project developer Related Companies, and the company's entitlements run through 2011. Their Grand Avenue LA, LLC, is also a party in Monday's talks.

So where would the museum sit? Parcels L and M2, both on the west side of Grand Avenue between the Disney Hall and Grand Tower, would seem to be strong candidates. While Related has shown developed concepts for Parcel Q, directly across Grand from Disney, it has not done the same for the two smaller sites.

Monday's hearing may not provide much in the way of closure. Because Monday's talks will happen in closed session, any news may only come if a deal is reached.

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