More bonds ahead to build Oscars movie museum


The California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank has agreed to issue $125 million more revenue bonds to construct a museum for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, presenter of the Oscars.

A sale date hasn’t been set, but Wells Fargo expects to price the bonds in late January or early February, according to a bank spokeswoman. The authorization permits taxable or tax-exempt debt.

The organization that presents the Academy Awards for filmmaking will borrow more money on the bond market to finish a Los Angeles museum.

Bloomberg News

The bond sale would be the second I-Bank issue for the presenter of the Academy Awards to support construction of the museum, as I-Bank issued $341 million in 2015 for the project. At that point, the project was expected to open in 2018, but museum officials announced in June that opening would be delayed until sometime after the February Oscars ceremony.

Museum officials could not be reached for comment about the construction schedule.

I-Bank approved the bond sale because it meets the criteria for providing community benefit, because of the educational facets of the museum, said Nancee Robles, I-Bank’s acting director. The project will also create 500 construction jobs, and the museum opening will create 150 permanent full-time jobs and 70 part-time jobs.

“It is not only creating a fantastic social event space for the community, but also benefits the Los Angeles area as an economic development driver,” Robles said.

The Academy provides a year-round calendar of programs and events including a wide range of educational and cultural activities at minimal or no cost to the general public and museum foundation members, according to I-Bank’s report. The bonds are being issued on behalf of the Museum Foundation, a nonprofit organization incorporated to own and operate a museum dedicated to the history of motion pictures.

I-Bank was comfortable in acting as conduit issuer on the additional bond sale, despite the delayed opening, because, “they are financially sound enough to repay the payments on the existing bonds.”

She added that I-Bank also found it reasonable and understandable for the museum to be over budget, given that construction costs have generally risen over the last few years.

Architect Renzo-Piano designed the $388 million renovation to the 1939 May Company department store building. The 300,000-square-foot museum includes a six-story building and a separate glass and concrete spherical building. The design for the spherical building was inspired by the dirigible balloons that once landed at the nearby Cecil B. DeMille airfield in the 1920s.

The museum will house 11 million items that the 7,000-member Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been collecting since the 1920s for scholarly research. The buildings will also house two state-of-the-art theaters, a long-term exhibition on moviemaking, rotating galleries, project spaces, an alfresco piazza, an education studio, fine dining and casual restaurants, and a shop, all topped by an open-air terrace.

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