WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL GAINS FINAL APPROVAL
WITH THE VOTE OF THE MUSIC CENTER BOARD OF GOVERNORS
LOS ANGELES, June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- With yesterday's vote by the board of governors of the Music Center of Los Angeles County, final plans to build a 2,380-seat Walt Disney Concert Hall and 2,500-car garage in downtown Los Angeles have been approved by all parties, including the Disney family, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the City Council.
According to Frederick Nicholas, chairman of the committee which oversees the project, groundbreaking and a community celebration on the 3.6-acre site on Grand Avenue south of First Street are being planned. A date will be announced shortly.
Expected to open in 1996, the concert hall, the permanent home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is projected to cost $110 million in funds generated by a gift of $50 million from Lillian Disney in 1987 in memory of her late husband, Walt Disney, and private donations. The Disney gift is thought to be the largest cash donation in the history of art philanthropy in the United States.
"Never has there been a greater need for rebirth and renewal in this city," commented Ronald J. Arnault, chairman of the Music Center's board of governors and executive vice president/chief financial officer of ARCO. "The city of Los Angeles has suffered great blows -- economic, spiritual and cultural. The arts, with their ability to bring people together, to reach all people with the spirituality and creativity that is so desperately needed today, are an integral part of the region's rebirth."
Design of the concert hall was unveiled last summer when renowned Los Angeles architect Frank O. Gehry, FAIA, was invited to represent the United States at the prestigious Venice Biennale's fifth international exhibition of architecture with models of the 200,000- square-foot project. A Pritzker Prize winner in 1989, recently he was awarded Japan's Praemium Imperiale for architecture.
Greater Programming Flexibility and Community Access
Key to Expansion
The Music Center and its resident companies -- Los Angeles Philharmonic, Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum and Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles Music Center Opera and the Los Angeles Master Chorale -- serve nearly 5 million people each year, including 1.3 million students. Extensive education and community programs are in place to insure increased public accessibility to the arts.
The addition of the 200,000-square-foot concert hall will improve programming flexibility and greater community access. "There will be an increased opportunity to fulfill the Music Center's responsibility to reach the broad and diverse populations of Southern California by putting the performing arts to their highest and greatest use -- to educate, to communicate and to unify spiritually," explained Music Center President Esther Wachtell. "Our facilities now will be able to provide performance opportunities for locally based and international arts groups which reflect the community's cultural heritage.
Disney Concert Hall to Help Boost Local Economy
The concert hall is expected to have significant immediate and long-term effects on the local economy. Construction will account for approximately 780 jobs. Restaurant, gift shop and other facilities will create additional permanent employment. Revenues from the garage, facility fees and sales tax will directly benefit county and city budgets, providing a stable, ongoing source of income.
While the Music Center already ranks as one of the region's major attractions for new business and tourism, Deane Dana, chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, said that the hall sends a powerful message to all potential area investors. "The new Disney Hall, an exciting, thriving center of creativity, demonstrates to the world that Los Angeles has the know-how, the design and the creative spark to successfully rebuild this community."
Costs for the concert hall, garage and road improvements are expected to total $182.6 million and will be funded by an innovative public-private partnership. Available funds for the project are expected to total $199.1 million, which includes approximately $30 million for various contingencies.
/CONTACT: Larry S. Londre of the Music Center of Los Angeles County, 213-972-7272; or Judi Skalsky, 310-306-8212/ CO: Music Center of Los Angeles County ST: California IN: SU: KJ-EH -- LA001 -- 5023 06/30/92 09:02 EDT