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Broad-Based Powers
LA philanthropist's new museum coming into focus

More details have emerged about LA philanthropist Eli Broad’s latest art venture: a new museum in Beverly Hills on the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards. The project first came to light in October, when Broad’s lawyer informed the Beverly Hills city manager about the plan.

In a December 9 letter to the Beverly Hills Planning Department, Broad’s lawyer, Thomas Levyn, specified that Broad’s “Museum Project” would become the permanent home for the Broad Collections (which contain over 2,000 artworks) and would also house a research and study center as well as the Broad Art Foundation’s administrative headquarters. The foundation currently uses a building in Santa Monica for offices and a gallery, which is only open by reservation.

According to the letter the new five-story building, whose height would measure no more than 68 feet, would contain 118,500 square feet of office space on four levels and 68,000 square feet of museum gallery space, archives, and street-level retail (including a museum store). The public galleries, stepped back from the street to provide open space at the area’s intersection, would “display rotating installations of works form the Broad Collections, as well as loans from other collections. The building would also include 273 below-ground parking spaces.

A story in the Beverly Hills Courier noted that if approved the new project would be located on a three-parcel site currently reserved for commercial and retail development now known as the “Gateway.” According to that story, the city of Beverly Hills is now considering an art museum as an alternative to office uses. In the October letter to the city manager it was noted that Broad has hired Gensler’s Marty Borko to advise him on the project. Gensler would not comment on their involvement at this time.

Broad, recently in the news for offering a $30 million contribution to help save the ailing Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, just opened his new $56 million Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art—also on Wilshire Boulevard—earlier this year.

Sam Lubell