Santa Monica Civic Auditorium | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Santa Monica Civic Auditorium

The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium faces an uncertain future. The loss of community redevelopment funds in 2012 derailed the City’s original plans for a multi-million dollar renovation of the facility that called for seismic retrofits, heating/air conditioning upgrades, modern restrooms and reconfiguration of the auditorium.  The City is currently holding public meetings to discuss options for the future of the historic venue, including potential uses, operations, and ways to finance the Civic Auditorium’s rehabiltation.

The City commissioned the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to examine strategies to revitalize the Civic Center as a self-supporting venue.  The ULI’s Technical Assistance Panel produced a recommendation report that determined that the City should save the Civic Auditorium even though it is not the most economical path. The report offered a vision that included a list of ways the 10-acre site could generate funds to support both the renovations and the operating subsidies.

Under an interim plan that was adopted by the Santa Monica City Council on June 11, 2013, the east wing will still be used for events and the main hall will be marketed for filming. The City continues to look at financing options for a proposed rehabilitation and seismic retrofit. The Santa Monica City Council has formed an advisory group that will study options for reuse and possible funding sources.

Save the Civic was founded in November 2012 as a coalition of concerned community members and local business leaders working towards the common goal of restoring and enhancing the Civic Auditorium’s place as a vibrant cultural and community hub.

Though built as a multi-purpose venue, the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium has in recent years been unable to generate enough revenue to cover annual operating costs. The once state-of-the-art facility has lost competition to other regional venues with more modern production capabilities and amenities.

The Conservancy and its Modern Committee joined with local advocates in seeking local landmark designation for the Civic Auditorium in 2001-2002.

The City of Santa Monica is seeking applications for individuals to sit on a nine member working group being established to work with City staff and consultants in drafting a vision for the landmark's future.  While it is preferred that working group members be Santa Monica residents, it is not required.  The deadline for submitting nominations is September 16. Learn more about the working group on the City of Santa Monica website

Visit Save the Civic to learn more about this issue.