In May of this year, the Urban Land Institute, at the request of the city, sent a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) to Santa Monica to study the situation with the Civic Auditorium and help the City come up with a plan to bring it back to life. These panels are comprised of highly qualified professionals who volunteer their participation. The result is expert, impartial analysis of how the city might solve the problem posed by the need to rehabilitate the historic Civic Auditorium to make it vibrant and successful again and how to fund both the rehab and the future operations. The TAP was provided with extensive briefing materials on the subject, and a set of specific questions to study before they convened. They met with an intensive two day agenda that included stakeholder meetings, site visits and numerous working sessions during which they deliberated into the evening. The result is a detailed set of recommendations and considerations that could be used as a road map for moving forward.
The Civic Auditorium TAP had seven members. John Alschuler, Chairman, HR&A Advisors, chaired the panel. The other panelists were Dan Massiello, Senior Vice President Public Finance, Kosmot Companies; Melani Smith, AICP, President, Principal, Planning and Urban Design, Melendrez; Michael Ross, CEO The Pasadena Center Operating Company; John Fisher, AIA, President, John Sergio Fisher & Associates, Inc.; and Thomas Wulf, Senior Vice President, Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group.
The Panelists met with members of the following groups in the City of Santa Monica: Community and Cultural Services Department, City Manager’s Office, Planning and Community Development, and Housing and Economic Development. Other stakeholders they interviewed were representatives of these groups: Nederlander Organization, Save the Civic, Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau, plus two architects and an entertainment executive. The detailed list in in the final report below.