Standing on shaky grounds: taking on debt and squandering opportunity
Thanks to decades of careful planing and smart decisions, LACMA is currently in a strong financial position. But this will likely change with the construction of the planned building, not because of the steep construction cost, but because:
- The county of LA has not only agreed to pay $125,000,000 of construction and soft cost of the new building but also agreed to up to $350,000,000 in bonds. This debt could proof to high for an institution that is planned to serve the same amount of visitors, and not more in the future and has no expansion options.
- Operating cost of the museum are likely to increase because spanning Wilshire makes it an easy terrorist target and security needs to control the sites to both sides of Wilshire and the bridge above 24/7.
- The planned square footage could easily be build north of Wilshire only, saving the Spaulding site for a later expansion or for a commercial project that would create additional income to LACMA, supporting the collection and programming. Instead, a financial opportunity is wasted on a museum too small to serve the needs of the collection.