News & Advocacy

Advocacy Alert: The City Negotiates the Fate of the Civic Auditorium!

August 4, 2023

On October 11, 2022 Santa Monica Conservancy City Council voted to designate the Civic Auditorium as surplus land. This decision instigated the current process in which the City is actively engaged in negotiations to sell or lease the site per the State’s Surplus Land Act Guidelines.

There is currently much public discussion and speculation swirling about the status of the Civic. To date, the City has conducted meetings that will determine the fate of the historic landmark in closed session. The Conservancy continues to press for more details about any and all proposals so that we can confirm for the community that historic preservation goals are being met.

The City and proposers need to come forward and engage in a conversation about the status of this nationally significant building!

A vacant building is always at risk. The Civic Auditorium has been shuttered since 2013 and remains vulnerable to seismic events and other hazards. The Conservancy’s overarching priority is to encourage the City to find a viable use and rehabilitation strategy as soon as possible that will ensure the building’s integrity and status as a valued Santa Monica Historic Landmark.

The Civic Auditorium is an excellent example of mid-20th century International Style by world-famous master architect and Santa Monica resident Welton Becket. The history of activities at the Civic is woven into our community’s memories and it stands today as a resource eligible for national recognition.

Our expectations—which we issued to the City in a letter dated July 17—are that as a condition of any sale or lease, there will be language in the transaction to retain permanent Landmark status and that all work at the property will comply with Secretary of the Interior Standards for Historic Preservation. These guidelines for Landmarks allow flexibility to accommodate new functional requirements while protecting key architectural elements, balancing preservation and change.

Continue to watch our website and your inbox for important updates and calls to action as the situation develops!! If you are not already subscribed to our email list, you can do so by clicking here.

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