City Council Meeting:  September 14, 2004                                    Santa Monica, California



TO:                  Mayor and City Council


FROM:            City Staff


SUBJECT:     Proposed Policy on Limited Theatrical Use of the Parking lot at 1550 Pacific Coast Highway and Authorization for City Manager to Negotiate and Execute a License Agreement with Cavalia LLC for Use of a Portion of THE Lot for Theatrical Performances





This report recommends adoption of a policy permitting limited commercial use of the parking lot at 1550 Pacific Coast Highway (“1550 Lot”) for theatrical performances during fall and winter months and requests City Council authorization for the City Manager to negotiate and execute a license agreement with Cavalia LLC for use of a portion of the lot for theatrical performances between October 11, 2004 and February 28, 2005.




In recent years, City staff has explored various means of sustaining and enhancing the Beach Fund.  During the past year, City staff has been approached by various event producers regarding the availability of the 1550 Lot for extended cultural/entertainment activities.  The Council-approved Community Events Program allows for some classes of short-term events in the Beach lots to enhance opportunities for expression.  However, the Community Events Program does not address or allow extended commercial use for the purpose of enhancing City revenues.  In order to sustain the Beach Fund and to be responsive to the inquiries about longer-term stays, City staff issued a Request for Letters of Interest to ensure an open and competitive process for interested applicants.  This opportunity was advertised in the Los Angeles Times on June 10, 2004.


The City received one Letter of Interest from Cavalia LLC for the 2004-05 fall/winter season.  City staff has worked closely with the Pier Restoration Corporation staff to evaluate the proposal, its benefits and its impacts.




Allowing limited theatrical use of part of the 1550 Lot during late fall and winter months pursuant to a City license will help sustain and enhance the Beach Fund, provide new entertainment opportunities, and attract visitors.  It will not impair beach access or interfere with community events.  Cavalia is theatrical performance described as a “magical encounter between Man and Horse.”  The ticketed performances take place in a large tent structure and would require the use of half of the 1550 Lot with the remainder of the lot available for general public parking.  Past performances have received critical acclaim in Seattle, Toronto, Montreal, Berkeley, Glendale and currently in Del Mar.  Cavalia LLC proposes a Santa Monica run of  seven performances weekly over an initial period of five weeks with an option to extend for an additional five weeks.


This type of performance is of a quality and nature that would attract visitors to the Santa Monica Beach and the Santa Monica Pier during a time period that traditionally sees a drop in activity.  





In the prior fiscal year, the City generated approximately $154,000 from special events and filming at the 1550 Lot during the same time period.  Discussions with Cavalia LLC indicate that the production could generate net revenue to the City’s Beach Fund that would approximate prior year levels. 




City staff recommends that the City Council adopt a policy allowing licensing of part of the 1550 Lot for theatrical use during the late fall and winter months and authorize the City Manager to negotiate and execute a license agreement with Cavalia LLC for the time period and use specified in this report, contingent upon reaching an agreement that ensures net Beach Fund revenues will approximate prior year levels.


Prepared by:  Barbara Stinchfield, Director

                        Elaine Polachek, Open Space Manager

                        Department of Community and Cultural Services