City Council Votes to Open Public Process for Rehabilitation and Reopening of Civic Center


At Tuesday’s meeting, the City Council voted unanimously and quickly to create an “Request For Proposals Process” so that anyone can bring forward a proposal to take over the rehabilitation and management of the Santa Monica Civic Center (the Civic.)

The proposal was put forward after a state-mandated public process that saw two proposals come forward that would have seen the Civic renovated and reopened with different caveats and that would have required that ownership of the Civic be transferred to a third party. 

The city rejected a proposal that would have also seen an affordable housing component on the property. A second proposal by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District that would have renovated the Civic for use by the School District with public concerts and events occurring when the district wasn’t using it. The school district tabled its proposal so the city could hold an open public process.

Based on the Council direction, the school district’s proposal may be a long shot. While the Council is looking to bring in multiple proposals, there are several things they are looking for in a proposal, including:

  1. That the city maintain ownership of the Civic and its property,
  2. The city won’t be asked to contribute funds to the retrofitting or reconstruction of the Civic,
  3. That the proposal come from a group that includes experts in large public event management and construction

While this might seem a tall order, the citizen’s advocacy group “Save the Civic” continues to insist they have been in contact with a potential group that meets all of these requirements. However, any details about this group continues to be a secret until the RFP process is officially opened. At Tuesday’s meeting, the Council just authorized and provided direction for the creation of an RFP process; the process hasn’t officially begun yet. 

“I’m just excited that we are here, and I hope we don’t just have one interested party but that we have many,” said Councilmember Lana Negrete, who co-authored the motion.

Damien Newton
Damien Newton
Damien is the executive director of the Southern California Streets Initiative which publishes Santa Monica Next, Streetsblog Los Angeles, Streetsblog San Francisco, Streetsblog California and Longbeachize.

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