Back in mid-November, we told you that art lover/billionaire Eli Broad had returned to his plans to build a new museum for he and his wife’s massive modern art collection. He had already pitted two cities against one another, vying for the museum to be built on their turf, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, with another to be thrown in the mix soon. Now it’s come out that it’s Los Angeles itself who has chosen to enter the battle. The LA Times reports that the city has pushed the formerly-planned Grand Avenue Project area for Broad’s museum. Once designed by Frank Gehry, the spot was to be a mix of residential and shopping, but eventually got cancelled once the economy went south and the $1.8 billion price tag seemed impossibly high. Broad had even been a champion of the project until recently when he coincidentally “resigned from the committee in November in order to avoid any potential conflicts of interest as the negotiations move forward.” And now that LA has stepped forward, it’s all out war, with plays like Santa Monica offering “a $1 a year, 99-year lease on 2.5 acres of city-owned land next to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium” and new Los Angeleno Jeffrey Deitch, who will soon run one of Broad’s most donated-to institutions, has asked that the museum head toward Grand Avenue. So who will win? We should know sometime this spring.
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