Santa Monica News
Civic Raises Fees For Possible BMW Launch
By Amanda Macke
Dec 18, 2013 - 8:01:44 PM

SANTA MONICA—City Council agreed to adopt proposals set forth to raise the rental fees of the Civic Auditorium after BMW expressed interest in the venue.

Jessica Cusick of the city of Santa Monica confirmed to the Canyon News that the civic policies outlining the interim uses and fees of the Civic Auditorium were approved by City Council during a special meeting held on Tuesday, December 17.


Front of the Civic Auditorium

According to the City Council report, the adopted resolution revises the regulation and rental fee structures of the Civic, which previously had not been modified since 1967 and “no longer reflect the current circumstances” of the Civic since suspending normal operations earlier this year.


The Santa Monica Civic Center entered an interim use phase “with nominal staff resources and a significantly reduced budget” on June 30, 2013 after losing needed rehabilitation funds for the facility. The auditorium, under management of the Community and Cultural Services Department, now operates on a budget of $528,742 in expenses and $154,800 in revenue.


The Civic Auditorium remains available for rent, however, and in November BMW propositioned city officials about possibly renting the venue for an international hybrid electric vehicle media launch during April and May 2014.


The City Council report from Karen Ginsberg, Director of Community and Cultural Services, states, “BMW’s rental of the Civic could earn the City substantial income to offset the Civic’s interim operating costs and would positively impact the local economy,” with an estimated generation of $300,000 in Civic revenue.


The newly adopted interim resolution by City Council now outlines the interim base rental fees that will be charged by the Civic Auditorium as staff finalizes negotiations with BMW.


Special rental rates will still be provided for non-profit organizations and the Santa Monica-Malibu School District, and municipal events hosted by Civic Departments will not be charged any fees.


According to the City Council Report, the fees “are based on initial market research and are generally lower than previous fees charged by the Civic,” with use of the Main Hall, Stage and Lobby of the Civic costing $10,000 per 12 to 14-hour day or $5,000 per 6-hour day.


In response to questions regarding the terms of the proposed agreement, a corporate representative from BMW told the Canyon News via email, “We wish not to discuss our future launch event plans. Thanks for your understanding.”

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