Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (File photo)
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (File photo)

Santa Monicans will get a first look at the possible future of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium at a presentation held Friday, May 10 by members of the Urban Institute.

Institute members will come to the Main Library’s Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. to conduct interviews and present findings in the first of what promises to be several meetings analyzing possible ways to resurrect the historic building, which is scheduled to close at the end of June.

The City Council voted to close the auditorium when a deal to renovate the aging facility fell through. Funding for the improvements, which included seismic repairs and technological modernization, was lost to the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency, which would have invested $50 million into the project.

That caused the Nederlander Group, which manages other famous facilities like the Pantages Theatre, to back out of a deal to promote the auditorium.

With the money and the manager gone, the Civic Center Auditorium represented a $2 million carrying cost to City Hall at a time of budget cuts. Mothballing it, on the other hand, came at a $185,000 per year price tag.

Activists who want to save the Civic have been rallying the community for help on social media site Facebook. They have almost 500 supporters.

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