Museum finds a home

AMPAS finds location for movie archive

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has chosen a site in Hollywood for its long-planned movie museum and is moving forward on financing and construction.

Bruce Davis, executive director of the Academy, said the preference is for the space adjacent to its existing Pickford Center at 1313 Vine St. It would be in a two-block area bounded by DeLongpre Avenue on the north, Fountain Avenue on the south, Vine Street on the east and Cahuenga/Ivar streets on the west.

The Pickford Center will remain as a separate entity.

The Academy already owns some of the needed land, but must acquire five parcels on the northern part of the site, some of which are now occupied by a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise and a Big Lots! store.

It is envisioning a museum that would occupy 75,000 square feet of space and cost roughly $200 million to build. There is a 2008 target date to start construction.

“I think it has a chance of being enormously successful in getting visitors,” Davis said. “People come to Hollywood and look for things that teach them about the art form of movies, and it is astonishing that there are only a few things. If we do this well enough, we could attract not only that audience but also the local community.”

The Academy submitted its proposal on Dec. 20 to the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles. The site is within the agency’s Hollywood Redevelopment Project area. The staff is reviewing it and planning to make a recommendation to the public agency’s board of directors by the end of February or early March. Public hearings would then be held.

“The parking issue concerns us,” Davis said. “There are things they could do to help with that.”

The Academy has revenue derived from its Oscarcast, Davis said. It also may issue a bond to raise money and will definitely undertake a fundraising campaign.

“Our hope is to break even once we get it open, but we are prepared to absorb a yearly loss of $2 million-$3 million.”

Davis said the Academy’s museum committee — chaired by past-president Robert Rehme and reporting to the board of governors — hasn’t gotten far enough to consider an architect yet. But its subcommittees have spent much time considering what they want a museum devoted to the movies to look like.

“We’re agreed we want a series of pavilions with open space, as at the Getty, since the weather is what attracted the movies here in the first place,” he said. “Some would be on the straight history of the art of film, others on different (subjects), and we would have changing exhibits.”

There would also have at least one theater; the Academy could use the existing 286-seat Linwood Dunn Theater at the Pickford Center for programming.

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