Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to close

Since it was built in 1958, the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium has become a local landmark and a fixture for events in the coastal community.

At the peak of its popularity, the building hosted the Academy Awards. But now more than 50 years later, the Santa Monica structure will shut its doors.

"The building is slated for closure at June 30," said Jessica Cusick, cultural affairs manager for the City of Santa Monica. "City Council has been looking at the building for some time because it needs major renovations."

The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium costs the city $2 million to maintain annually. Additionally, Cusick said the building is also in need of significant construction before the city could reopen it to the public.

Showing its age the auditorium needs to be earthquake proofed, and made more accessible to handicapped guests. There are also interior renovations necessary ranging from lighting to dressing rooms, Cusick said.

"While it was state-of-the-art then, it’s a little dated now," said Cusick.

The total cost of the overhaul is projected at approximately $50 million. The auditorium is no longer booking events, and many recurring events have already found new venues.

The Vintage Fashion Expo, which made biannual visits to the auditorium for the last two decades, scheduled its October show at the LA convention center.

"We are going back to Council on June 11 to provide them with options to find the funds necessary to raise the 50 million," said Cusick. "The city is dealing with a lot of other capital issues because of redevelopment."

Concurrent development combined with the high cost of repairs has not left many developers rushing to purchase the property.

"Pretty much at this point in time, we’d have to start from scratch," Cusick said.

The last scheduled event at the facility will be a International Gem and Jewelry show on June 14 through June 16.