CITY HALL — Calling all billionaires, Santa Monica wants to hear from you.
Now that it’s official there will be no Eli Broad-financed art museum in Santa Monica’s Civic Center, officials are turning to the question of what to do with the scorned site instead.
Although the land, located just north of the Civic Center Auditorium, has long been slated to be used as public open space, Broad’s unfulfilled offer to build a museum there has elected leaders pondering other, more ambitious options.
Since Broad this week announced he would build his museum on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles, local officials said it’s a possibility Santa Monica could woo some other billionaire to come to town.
“It’s not official that there will be no museum,” said Mayor Bobby Shriver. “I know other people are talking about a different type of museum on that site and it will be exciting to see if that comes to fruition.”
He said it was clear from community support for Broad’s proposal that locating a world class museum in the Civic Center is an idea worth exploring further.
If there are any interested parties, though, Shriver and other officials were keeping quiet about who they might be.
City Councilman Richard Bloom, meanwhile, has suggested that City Hall publicize the site’s availability to see if there are other philanthropists interested in submitting proposals.
On Tuesday, he said he expected the council to consider authorizing the publication of a “notice of availability” for the land at its next meeting Sept. 14.
Bloom said he expected to hear from members of the community about their preferred uses for the site and from philanthropists interested in developing the land.
Both he and Shriver said the pitch by Broad set a high standard for the type of project that could win the council’s approval.
“I think that the Broad proposal sets the bar really high and we should be looking at that proposal as a floor not, a ceiling,” Bloom said.
Broad had offered to spend as much as $70 million building the museum and would have created a $200 million endowment for its operation had he picked Santa Monica over downtown L.A.