Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Academy Museum Impact on Neighborhood

Wilshire / Fairfax

The new Academy of Motion Pictures Museum slated for build-out in the former May Company Building on Wilshire at Fairfax has received its Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), and nearby neighbors are now sorting through the 7,000 page, nine-volume document to learn how the museum may affect quality of life in the Miracle Mile. Public comments on the report are due by October 14, 2014.

The Miracle Mile Residential Association (MMRA) which represents residents in the area has outlined  several “points of concern” on the project in its September MMRA newsletter. The MMRA succinctly summarizes the DEIR report, and it’s worth a quick read. Concerns include:

  • No new on-site parking  is planned -the museum would share the new underground lot on the LACMA campus;
  • The creation of a Digital Sign District, much like the Nokia Center downtown, with digital displays and super graphics;
  • The regular screening of two premieres each week, on par with the Chinese Theatre or the Cinerama Dome, bringing increased traffic and events to the museum.

Highlights of the new museum include:

  • Demolition of the 1946 addition to the May Company Building and rehabilitation of the primary facades, along with construction of a new wing on the north side of the original building to include the Museum entrance, the giant “Sphere” housing a theater for 1,000 and a viewing deck out to the Hollywood hills;
  • The original “Tearoom” on the fifth floor will be converted into a 1200 seat dining room with access to a rooftop terrace and deck;
  • The outdoor piazza on the north of the building will be built around and under the Sphere and include a cafe and outdoor seating and access to the 5,000 sq ft museum store.

Meanwhile, Variety’s  “About Town” column reported that there is some concern from architectural historians that the museum is “floating an idea to emblazon a giant award statuette [Oscar] on the face of the gold “perfume bottle” shaped corner of the former May Co. store. The idea is to outline Oscar’s shape while not obscuring the Streamline Moderne building from view and not permanently altering the historic structure.”

Rendering from
Rendering from

Ken Bernstein of the City’s Office of Historic Resources was quoted in Variety:

The devil is in the details; we may have further comment on the size and execution. It could have adverse public perception of the perfume bottle, which has been a significant view for decades. we don’t want it to become a background element.”

Bill Kramer, the Academy museum’s managing director said that it’s still just an idea and no decision on the adding a tall Oscar to the corner has been made.

Many of us never knew the distinctive golden cylinder was a reference to a perfume bottle – but can see that it could be the perfect place for Oscar to look down over Tinsel Town … or the Miracle Mile.



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Julie Grist
Julie Grist
Julie co-founded the Larchmont Buzz with fellow buzzer Mary Hawley in 2011 and served as Editor, Publisher and writer for the hive for many years until the sale of the Buzz in August 2015. She is still circling the hive as an occasional writer.

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  1. They are adding a 1200-seat restaurant and 1000-seat theater with NO NEW PARKING? Seriously? The existing underground lot is overfull every Friday night there is a jazz concert. Imagine it during a screening! This cannot be serious.

    As for digital signage, I live almost a mile from the giant Samsung sign at Wilshire and LaBrea and it is so bright I had to move my TV to a different spot because of the glare. This is another area of potential danger to a residential neighborhood that is looking very, very threatened by these plans.

    How does one make a public comment?


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