Santa Monica Civic Plan Gets OK

The Santa Monica, Calif., city council voted unanimously March 8 to partner with the Nederlander organization to bring live music back to Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. But the plan faces some major financing hurdles.

Council members were enthusiastic about the plan, according to the Santa Monica LookOut, reminiscing about concerts past with the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Joan Baez, to name but a few who graced the legendary stage.

Nederlander Concerts CEO Alex Hodges praised the council vote.

“We are excited about the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium,” Hodges told Pollstar. “Although this is only one step in a long process, we know that The Civic will once again be a destination for artists and fans and we are thrilled to be the exclusive promoter to revitalize this iconic venue.”

An earmark of $45 million to bring the Santa Monica Civic up to snuff has already been committed by the city through its redevelopment agency. But, with the state of California facing huge budget deficits, Gov. Jerry Brown has vowed to eliminate those agencies.

Whether Nederlander and the city finally ink a contract could depend on whether that $45 million is available – and if other financing can be found if Brown cuts redevelopment agency funding from the state budget.

If the state passes Brown’s budget, the city will have to find another way to pay for the Santa Monica Civic upgrades, according to the LookOut.

“When we earmarked this money … a couple of years ago, no one envisioned the possibility that the redevelopment agency would effectively go away,” council member Bobby Shriver told the paper. “$45 million is an enormous number for our city.”

While voting to go ahead with the partnership with Nederlander, Shriver also reportedly asked the council to direct staff to do an analysis of possible private financing options, including naming rights for the auditorium.