The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is now clear of any potential legal obstacles to join Museum Row on Wilshire Boulevard after settling with a neighborhood advocacy group that was threatening a lawsuit.
In June, Los Angeles City Council approved the Academy’s plans to begin building the new museum. But the nonprofit neighborhood group, Fix the City, wanted to address concerns about the $300 million museum’s effect on traffic and signage.
The museum and neighborhood group announced last week that they reached an agreement that both sides said ensures they will continue working together to minimize the museum’s impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.
“Our agreement with Fix the City is the result of several months of fruitful discussion and collaboration,” museum officials said in a statement. “Our goal has always been to build a museum that not only enriches the public, but is respectful to all our neighbors. We are thrilled to begin construction with the support of the community.”
The agreement includes measures to address the group’s concerns.
“We were able to press upon them we are a community that isn’t going to be overrun on things like traffic and noise,” said Jim O’Sullivan, vice president of Fix the City. “In the end, [the museum officials] want to be a good neighbor.”
The museum’s plan does not call for installation of parking spaces on site. It will share an existing parking garage and surface lot with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Fix the City was concerned with the projected 2,000 or more visitors to the museum on an average day and how they will affect an already congested intersection at Wilshire and Fairfax. The museum secured more than 800 spaces in the neighborhood for use for high-capacity events.
As a part of the agreement, the museum and Fix the City will monitor traffic flow by tracking cars driving through the neighborhood to get to the museum. If they find that events cause the area to become too congested, mitigation efforts, that are still to be determined before the museum’s opening, will be enacted.
“We agreed to work with Fix the City to come up with a plan to monitor who is using the facilities and how people are coming through neighborhoods,” Academy Museum executive director Bill Kramer said. “That’s something we will be constructing with them over the next year.”
If necessary, the groups will enforce mutually agreed upon standards for factors including traffic, parking, signage and noise for the benefit of the community.
The joint statement said a monitoring and enforcement system will likely serve as a model for future development projects in the area. Specifics on the monitoring system have not been released.
“These are areas that we will work with Fix the City to create standards … to ensure the academy isn’t disrupting the neighborhood in any way,” Bill Kramer said.
Fix the City also raised issues about possible signage for the museum. The Academy agreed not to put previously planned advertising banners along Fairfax next to a planned cinema sphere, and that a large digital sign on the Wilshire side of the sphere won’t be visible to motorists. The agreement allows for digital signs along Wilshire in what were once department store display windows. Banners on the western edge of the sphere have been removed. The settlement also OKs an Oscar statue the Academy hopes to hoist as a marker. There will be no third-party signage – meaning all signage will pertain to the museum. Signs in the sign district are limited to flags, internal signage, canopies, two street level display case monitors on Wilshire Boulevard and the Oscar statue on the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax.
With matters settled for now, Kramer said he doesn’t expect any more roadblocks appearing before construction begins.
“This is a great moment for the project,” he said. “We have been planning this iteration of the museum for four years. It’s incredibly exciting to see it coming to reality.”
Kramer said the museum is on target to open in late 2017.
Miracle Mile Chamber of Commerce President Steve Kramer said he is thrilled matters are resolved, and that he’s looking forward to visiting the museum.
“It’s very exciting that they’re going to be able to move forward and create the institution,” Steve Kramer said. “It’s already is a special neighborhood. The Academy Museum is going make it even more special. When you live around here, you can lose sight of how great it is. This is going to be a major benefit to the community.”
The Academy Museum will feature six floors of exhibition spaces, a movie theater, education studios, special event spaces, conservation areas and a café, among other features. A new spherical addition will connect to the May Company building with glass bridges and will feature a 1,000-seat theater and a rooftop terrace.
The main lobby level of the museum will feature public areas including a free introductory gallery. The Academy Museum will also highlight a core historical exhibition and rotating temporary exhibitions complemented by special projects, publications, digital initiatives and a slate of public programs that will include screenings, premieres, panel discussions, gallery talks and K–12 education initiatives.
O’Sullivan, a retired actor, said he is anxious to visit the museum when it’s complete.
“I’ll be a kid in the candy shop,” he said.
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