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Broad Museum: Final Vote On Billionaire's Plan Expected Today

JACOB ADELMAN   08/23/10 08:25 PM ET   AP

Broad Museum

LOS ANGELES — Billionaire Eli Broad said Monday he had chosen an expanding downtown cultural district for a new museum to showcase his collection of art that includes works by Salvador Dali and Joan Miro.

The developer-turned-philanthropist made his announcement minutes after a committee of state and local officials voted to let him lease county-owned land along Grand Avenue for the structure that could cost as much as $100 million.

The 35,000 square feet of gallery space will feature paintings, sculptures and photos from Broad's 2,000-piece collection, which includes works not currently on permanent public display.

"There's lots of art to go around," Broad said after the vote by the Grand Avenue Authority. "We want to show our art to the widest possible audience."

The Broad Art Foundation will also coordinate loans of artwork to other museums from the planned venue totaling 120,000 square feet.

Under the deal for the land, the foundation will pay $7.7 million over the course of a 99-year-lease for the 2.5-acre parcel that was originally set aside as part of a stalled $3 billion shopping, hotel and condo complex known as the Grand Avenue project.

The deal also obliges 76-year-old Broad, whose net worth was pegged this year by Forbes magazine at $5.7 billion, to finance construction of the museum and contribute $200 million toward its operation.

Broad said the museum's chief architect will be New York-based Diller, Scofidio & Renfro, which has designed the renovation and expansion of Lincoln Center in New York City and the new Institute of Contemporary Art on the Boston harbor.

The design of the Los Angeles museum was chosen over one submitted by the practice of Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas in consultation with Frank Gehry, who designed the adjacent Walt Disney Concert Hall and is master planner of the Grand Avenue project, Broad spokeswoman Karen Denne said.

"It's going to be a great piece of architecture that doesn't clash with Disney Hall but also is not going to be totally anonymous," Broad said.

The design will be unveiled in October, with construction possibly finished by the end of 2012, he said.

Broad had considered a site in Santa Monica. He said he didn't initially give serious consideration to the downtown location because it had been targeted for the Grand Avenue project.

Broad said he started negotiating with project developer Related Cos. then launched the official process for approval at the urging of Villaraigosa.

"As a prominent anchor to a growing cultural district, the museum will serve as both an economic and cultural engine," the mayor said in a statement.

Broad, who made his billions as co-founder of developer KB Home and through the sale of insurer SunAmerica, has already done much to advance the arts on Grand Avenue.

He was founding chairman of the Arata Isozaki-designed Museum of Contemporary Art in 1979, one of the earliest cultural venues to join the Music Center performing arts complex among the high-rises coming to dominate Bunker Hill.

Broad was also instrumental in helping fund Gehry's Disney Hall, a sleek Los Angeles Unified School District arts campus by Viennese designer Wolf Prix and Our Lady of Angels Cathedral by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo. He also helped select Gehry and Prix for the projects.

Off Grand Avenue, he made a $60 million gift to build and support the Renzo Piano-designed Broad Contemporary Art Museum on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art campus in West Los Angeles, where some of the contemporary art collection already resides.

Other institutions bearing his name include the Eli and Edythe Broad Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, to which he donated $23.2 million.

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Filed by Billy Silverman  |