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DOWNTOWN : Grant Aids Museum of Neon Art Gallery

August 07, 1994|TOMMY LI

The City Council has approved a $415,000 grant to help pay for the Museum of Neon Art's return to the community at a 7,000-square-foot site on West Olympic Boulevard, officials said.

"We'll be working to get the space ready to move in as quickly as we can," museum Director Mary Carter said. "We're hoping it will be in six to eight months."

The museum, which had been a mainstay on Traction Avenue near Little Tokyo for 12 years, found a new home last year in Universal CityWalk for its collection of electric signs and classic marquees.

Although the museum intends to keep the free, 1,000-square-foot space on Universal CityWalk, Carter wanted to establish a second, larger gallery.

Community Redevelopment Agency officials stepped in and offered the $415,000 grant to help the museum set up a site on the ground floor of Renaissance Tower, a 192-unit apartment complex at 501 W. Olympic Blvd.

The money was unanimously approved by the City Council on July 20.

Of the total grant, $250,000 will go toward tenant improvements, $125,000 will cover a portion of the museum's annual operating costs over a five-year period and $40,000 will repay the CRA's administrative expenses, officials said.

Redevelopment officials are looking forward to seeing the museum's economic impact in Renaissance Tower, which has yet to lease all its available commercial space. "Our hope is that once the museum goes in and brings more visitors to the area, there will be an increased interest in retailers to come in," said David Riccitiello, a CRA project manager.

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