In a move that could help save the proposed Walt Disney Concert Hall from being shelved, Atlantic Richfield Co. last week announced it will donate $10 million to the $265 million downtown L.A. project.
"We see it as an investment in the future of L.A., in the heart of L.A. It will be an architectural landmark befitting the next century," said Mike Bowlin, chairman and chief executive of Arco.
Arco's contribution keeps the project's fundraising program on track. Disney Hall leaders have a goal to raise $52 million by June 30 the most immediate of several funding milestones that were established in response to L.A. County's threat to dump the project because of construction delays and increasing cost estimates.
The next goals established by the fundraising program are $89 million by December 1997 and $142 million by December 1998.
The fundraising campaign headed by Mayor Richard Riordan and Eli Broad, chairman and CEO of SunAmerica Inc. is still $17 million short of its June 30 goal and about $114 million short of the total needed for the project.
Leaders of the campaign nonetheless are optimistic.
"The cost to complete from where it stands today is $150 million to $170 million," said Broad. "Today, we have $35.75 million raised. Add the Disney family contribution and what's in the bank another $63.5 million and we have 60 to 65 percent of what we need."
The ambitious project which Riordan said "will be the greatest concert hall in the world" has been designed by architect Frank Gehry.
Gehry has envisioned the project to be comprised of a main hall designed to be a series of curved surfaces wrapped around the entire building and covered in Italian limestone and stainless steel or titanium. The ceiling and walls of the 2,380-seat hall would be made of hardwood. Smaller buildings including a small theater and two amphitheaters and gardens and plazas would surround the main building.
Lisa Steen Proctor
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