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Disney Gives $25 Million to Downtown Concert Hall

Fund-raising: The donation virtually ensures project's completion.

December 02, 1997|DIANE HAITHMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"The fact of the matter is, the entertainment community is extremely generous to project after project after project. Whether they support specifically the Music Center is not to be attributed as anything negative; they support a lot of other fabulous things," Eisner said.

Miller, Walt Disney's daughter, did not attend the announcement, because she is awaiting the birth of her 13th grandchild in Colorado. She said by phone that she learned of the Disney Co. donation Monday morning, when she talked to her cousin Roy--from his sickbed--for the first time in a long time. She attributed the lack of communication to the fact that "we have different lives, we go different ways." She said she plans to meet with him in Los Angeles soon.

"I don't think I ever lost any esteem or respect for my cousin," she said. "Everybody goes different ways. . . . This is not really on a personal level; it's much bigger than that."

Architect Gehry and project fund-raising Chairman Eli Broad confirmed Monday that another behind-the-scenes dispute has been settled: The two now agree that the estimated cost of the hall is $255 million.

Broad and the architect locked horns in late summer, when Broad presented an estimate of $220 million. Fund-raising stalled, with Gehry supporters, including Miller, fearing that Broad, formerly a developer of moderate-priced housing, would push for a lower price at the sacrifice of architectural integrity.

"I thought, if everything went well, the hall could be [built for $220 million], but the 'experts' disagreed with me," Broad said jokingly Monday. "So we are going with the experts' estimate of $255 million."

In a Monday telephone interview, Gehry said that "until we get the drawings in there, and put it out to bid, you don't really know, but there is a lot of intelligent estimating going on to get that number [$255 million], and that is why it was so important for Eli to accept it, because everything else was wishful thinking.

"In the end, I hope Eli's right, I hope it's cheaper. We're going to do everything in our power. . . . Nobody's going to just try and spend money. We talk to each other. It's OK."

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Closing the Gap

Some major contributions to Disney Hall:

$50 million: Lillian Disney*

$25 million: Walt Disney Co.

$15 million: Ralphs / Food 4 Less Foundation / Ron Burkle

$10 million: Arco Foundation

$7.5 million: Anonymous

$5 million: Roy E. Disney

$5 million: Wells Fargo

$5 million: Bank of America

$5 million: Mayor Riordan

$5 million: Eli Broad

$5 million: Times Mirror Foundation

* Additional gifts plus interest push the family's contribution to nearly $100 million

Source: Times reports

Compiled by CARY SCHNEIDER / Los Angeles Times

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