David Waite was quoted in a May 24, 2013 article on GlobeSt.com about the future of the famed Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Plans are in the works to preserve the auditorium, which once hosted the Academy Awards and a show featuring James Brown, the Rolling Stones and Chuck Berry, but opinions differ on how to make the venue economically viable.
Speaking in his role as the incoming chairman of the Urban Land Institute, Waite told the publication that a ULI panel of experts determined that the auditorium is worth saving but that “it remains a daunting economic challenge to do it and pay for the improvements to make it a long-term viable asset for the city.”
The ULI has suggested to the city council that the venue be revitalized by making use of adjacent land that is currently home to a parking lot. Waite said that city officials seem receptive to the recommendations which would combine commercial, residential, institutional and other mixed-use on open space around the venue.
“But it really is a holistic approach, one that would require a high level of community engagement in terms of what they want to see, the scope of development,” he said. “But clearly, there’s an opportunity.”