DOWNTOWN — Philanthropist Eli Broad is thinking about moving his foundation headquarters and a new museum to the stalled downtown Los Angeles Grand Avenue Project.

The Grand Avenue Authority, comprised of elected officials from the city and county of Los Angeles, on Monday authorized negotiations between the Grand Avenue Committee, the Broad Foundations and Related Companies.

First reported to be headed to Beverly Hills, the Broad Art Museum, which would house the philanthropist’s 2,000-piece contemporary art collection, has also been linked to Santa Monica, where city officials are prepared to vote next month in favor of negotiating a deal with Broad to build the museum adjacent to the Civic Auditorium.

Broad is expected to spend between $40 and $60 million to design and build the facility and will create a $200 million endowment to cover the museum’s long term expenses, according to Santa Monica officials.

The proposed terms of the agreement call for City Hall to lease a 2.5 acre site next to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to the museum for a nominal fee and to contribute $2.7 million to the project, including $1 million to cover design costs.

The Broad Foundations would be committed to hiring a “world-class architect” to design the project, spending at least $40 million on construction and creating at least 30,000 square feet of exhibition space.

Santa Monica seemed to be the front runner, however, there have been concerns raised by some in the community about handing over a considerable chunk of land at a time when revenues are down. Some feel a better deal can be reached, generating more money for city coffers.

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry, a member of the Grand Avenue Authority, praised the chance to “get something going” on one of the four parcels that make up Related’s master-planned project, according to a report on blogdowntown.com

“[The museum] could have a multiplier effect” for the neighborhood, Perry said.

Broad spokeswoman Karen Denne said Grand Avenue is one of three sites being considered. The Broad Art Foundation has outgrown its Santa Monica building and must move.

Broad is no stranger to Bunker Hill. He helped lead fundraising efforts for the Walt Disney Concert Hall and recently pledged $30 million to MOCA.

The has also been a major backer for the Grand Avenue Project, comparing it and the associated remake of the Civic Center Park to Paris’ Champs-Elysées.

While detailed plans were not formally discussed, rumor has it the museum would sit on top of a parking podium that would bring it to the level of Upper Grand Avenue, the blog reported.

In exchange for giving up the land, Related would likely be granted an extension on its deadline to develop its project. The company has been waiting for capital markets to recover before it breaks ground on the first phase of what could be up to a $3-billion venture, according to the blog.

Related is the developer selected by City Hall to complete a massive housing project in the Civic Center known as The Village. The Daily Press in May of 2009 reported that Related was having trouble securing financing for the 324-unit, residential and retail development and had to delay construction until July 2010.

Monday’s action initiated formal negotiations on the deal, which would need to be approved by the authority. The body includes representatives from the city and county of Los Angeles and the Community Redevelopment Agency. Its next regularly scheduled meeting will be on Feb. 22.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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