The planned 2017 opening of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, under construction in the Mid-Wilshire District, has been delayed until sometime in 2019, due to planning problems that have included a run-in with a neighborhood nonprofit advocacy group called Fix the City.
That’s made the academy somewhat reticent to comment on the progress of the project, which incorporates into its Renzo Piano-designed campus the 1939 May Co. building at Fairfax Ave. and Wilshire Blvd.
Last week was an exception, though, as the museum offered its first press tour of the space under construction. The hard-hat event served as a backdrop to the announcement of a $50 million gift from Cheryl and Haim Saban, chairman and chief executive of Saban Capital Group Inc. and owner of the Power Rangers entertainment franchise.
Haim Saban ranked No. 14 on the Business Journal’s 2017 List of Wealthiest Angelenos, with a net worth of more than $4.3 billion. The May Co. building will be renamed the Saban Building in acknowledgment of the gift.
The donation brings the project closer to its $388 million fundraising goal. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the project still has between $80 million and $90 million left to be raised. Previous gifts from entertainment luminaries include $10 million each from Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg, and $25 million from David Geffen. Walt Disney Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Iger leads the museum’s capital campaign.
The academy also announced that Ron Meyer, vice chairman of NBCUniversal, will serve as chairman of the museum’s board. Other board members have not yet been announced.
– Diane Haithman
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