Former May Department Store Could Provide Hollywood Ending for AMPAS’s Search for Movie Museum Site

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor A long-gestating project that would provide Los Angeles with its very own museum dedicated to the silver screen seems to finally be underway. The catch is it probably won’t be half as flashy as the stars [...]

A long-gestating project that would provide Los Angeles with its very own museum dedicated to the silver screen seems to finally be underway. The catch is it probably won’t be half as flashy as the stars it is set to pay homage. Although funding was supposed to be a cakewalk for the Oscar-giving Academy, the writer’s strike in 2007 as well as the recession dealt heavy blows to the industry, thus making it extremely difficult to raise the staggering $400 million the organization required.

The massive amount of funding was needed to ensure that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences along with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art would benefit from their own landmark Hollywood building. After getting as far as hiring Pritzker-winning French architect Christian de Portzamparc to come up with a venue fitting the grandiose pattern Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall has established, the aforementioned financial struggles halted the process indefinitely, the New York Times reports.

That all has fallen through and AMPAS has lowered the bar for the museum project, keeping in tune with cutbacks made in every section of the film industry. The new plan is to find a location that has long stopped generating interest–such as the former home of the May Co.

The joint-venture made with the LACMA plans on getting the museum going as soon as 2014 in the former department store at Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard. The 1939-built structure would provide the necessary square footage, which estimates put at about 300,000, while also being a cheaper alternative to the original plan. In addition, the building stands close to other attractions, such as the Petersen Automotive Museum and the George C. Page Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art campus, which strongly recommends the future museum site as a sure-win with visitors.