By Jodi Summers

Oh, being pressed up against the stage of a concert hall with strangers sweating on you is such an intrinsic part of the general admission concert experience…you can still smell the press of headbangers as they squeezed around the stage as multi-platinum rockers Motley Crue performed at a benefit for Children of the Night at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The experience is etched indelibly in our brain.

Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, the Academy Awards – and wow just  steps from the ocean! The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium  used to be on everyone’s list of favorite venues. The City is taking steps to make the Civic Auditorium  a world class concert hall again. In late winter, the city council gave the green light for the Nederlander Organization to move forward with its plans to revitalize the Civic Auditorium as an “exclusive presenter/joint venture.”

Under the council’s directive, the Nederlander Producing Company of America, will deliver a full season of programming for a minimum of five years. Additionally,  Nederlander will contribute to the Civic Auditorium’s first significant renovation this century.

“It has been sad to see what has happened to the Civic within the last 30 years or so as it stopped being a top concert venue,” Council member Kevin McKeown stated. “It’s beyond time to turn this around. The building is a landmark, the building is a classic. I think we have the capability to do this… and I think we have a great partner, the right partner, for this venue.”

The terms of the agreement have Nederlander earning a base management fee of $200,000, with the requirement of creating “at least $500,000 annually in net event-related revenue” for the fee to take effect.

Designed by Welton Beckett and built in 1958, the Civic Auditorium was state of the art. This property has been described as “an excellent example of the mid-20th century International Style.” It replaced the classically inspired Ocean Park Municipal Auditorium which had been located on Lick Pier. It was renowned for the unique engineering and landmark use of hydraulic technology for adapting an assembly space to accommodate a vast variety of stage performances, athletic events, and exhibitions.

It has been cited as a forerunner to the retractable domes and flexible seating of contemporary stadiums. Its acoustical design by UCLA Chancellor Vern O. Knutsen, was described as, “the most perfect and…(deserving)…a rating higher than that of the Royal Festival Hall in London” (Progressive Architecture, May 1959).

The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium was constructed in response to the development of the Santa Monica Civic Center. It was the third of three major 20th century Civic Center structures, which includes City Hall (1938) and the Courthouse (1951). It’s International Style (Modern) of architecture dominated building design from the first decade of the 20th century until 1972.

Artists that have performed at the Civic Auditorium include Andre Previn, Dave Brubeck, Pete Seeger, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Bill Cosby, and Bob Hope, Beatnik poet Allen Ginsburg, Elton John, Ray Charles, Arlo Guthrie, the Beach Boys, the Carpenters, Motley Crue, White Zombie and Beck.

This public/private partnership will have both the City and Nederlander sharing the responsibilities of staffing, event scheduling, concessions, and promotions. The Civic would commit $45 million in funding to the project –  an amount that was approved under the assumption redevelopment funds would still be available and well before Gov. Jerry Brown proposed eliminating redevelopment agency (RDA) funding.

“My concern here is the whole RDA process. My own take is that in the new world order, we have to consider things like (corporate naming rights),” noted City Council member Bobby Shriver, adding a venue such as Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles has revitalized an entire neighborhood of that city despite being named after a corporate entity. “I am open to the idea, actually, of private financing.”

The terms of the agreement call for some of the Civic Auditorium’s staff to be downsized. Community and city events at the venue may be limited, plus the City may be responsible for undisclosed overhead costs.

According to Community and Culture Affairs staff report, “the proposed operating model would reduce the operating subsidy required of the general fund from the ‘status quo’ range of $32.9 (million) over the 10 year term to a range of $8.7 (million) to $14.7 (million).”

There is also an option for a five-year extension of the exclusive presenter/joint venture agreement.


Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. The United States may fuel the world’s largest economy and operate its most robust financial system. But compared to the financial prowess of teenagers in 17 other countries, U.S. teens come off downright mediocre.

    The 34-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development surveyed 15-year-old students in 13 member nations and five other nations throughout 2012 to ascertain their level of familiarity with the financial system as they neared adulthood. The survey questions assessed the teens’ understanding of bank accounts, credit cards, taxes, savings and contracts — among other topics.

    Teens in Shanghai, China, proved the most financially literate of the countries surveyed with a mean test score of 603; Colombia rounded out the bottom of the ranking with an average test score of 379. American teens scored an average of 492 points — placing them ninth in the ranking, exactly in the middle of the pack.

  2. Thanks to an excellent turnout at the City Council meeting last night, and
    the flood of communications that Council Members received from supporters of
    the Civic Auditorium, that iconic mid-century structure will be seismically
    strengthened and renovated for use as a performance center. Four Council
    members voted to use Redevelopment funding for this purpose and all spoke
    movingly of the Civic’s important place in this community’s past and its
    potential to serve future generations.

    The strength of your advocacy clearly impressed those Council members who
    found they could not support the use of redevelopment funds for this
    purpose. Each acknowledged the need to preserve it but differed on how that
    should occur.

    Thank you again for your support of the Santa Monica Conservancy and your
    energy in this successful advocacy effort.

    Carol Lemlein, President
    On behalf of the Board of Directors
    Mailing Address:
    Santa Monica Conservancy
    PO BOX 653
    Santa Monica, CA 90406

    Contact Name: Santa Monica Conservancy
    Telephone Number: (310) 496-3146

  3. Florida-based REIT CNL Lifestyle Properties Inc., which bought the Pacific Park amusement park on the pier here for $34 million early this year, has secured a five-year, $20 million loan on the property that was arranged by American Real Estate Capital of Coral Gables, FL. Michael Tabor of American Real Estate Capital tells that CNL, after paying all cash for Pacific Park in January, elected later to place debt on the property.

    The property is a two-acre amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier that offers family-style entertainment with 12 rides, 18 midway games as well as multiple attractions, an oceanfront food plaza, entertainment and specialty shops.

  4. We got stopped on the way home from that show. Glad we were working it and not partying.

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About Jodi Summers

Jodi Summers
Sotheby’s International Realty

Jodi Summers Bio

With $100,000,000 in listed inventory, Jodi Summers understands the coastal commercial real estate market. A top producer with Sotheby’s International Realty, Jodi knows finance, rules, regulations, procedures and methods. She is accurate, knowledgeable, timely and aware of how government shapes the cities of Southern California.

Jodi is born in Brooklyn, raised in and around Manhattan – the family business was marketing, Madison Avenue style. Childhood math quiz questions calculated demographic and psychographic percentages or analyzed the allocation of adverting dollars. Word games were for devising slogans.

An honors graduate from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, Jodi moved to California to achieve her goal of living by the beach with a palm tree and a hibiscus bush in her yard.
She thrived as an entrepreneur in the entertainment, media and marketing industries. One of her books, “Marking and Marketing Music,” is in second edition.

“My marketing and communication skills have proven to be a true gift when it comes to promoting real estate,” observes Jodi. “And I am consistently able to get an exceptionally high price per square foot for my sellers.”

Discipline (Jodi holds a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do), organization, motivation, excellent communication skills and knowing & satisfying the needs of her clients have been her essentials for running a successful business. A passion for investment real estate explains her emphasis in asset-yielding properties.

Her team joined Sotheby’s International Realty for the company’s powerful brand and stellar reputation.
“We offer the broad market knowledge needed to assist clients in formulating a sound acquisition strategy,” Jodi amplifies. “Together, we evaluate various markets, property types and neighborhoods to devise a customized approach that meets each client’s specific objectives.”

Jodi is a member of the Action Apartment Association of Westside income property owners, the Santa Monica Conservancy historic preservation society, the Ocean Park Association, the Friends of Sunset Park community group, the Real Estate Investors Club of L.A., and the Culver City Rock & Mineral Club. Members of her team are fluent in Spanish and Italian.

“Our reputation assures your satisfaction.”


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