Billionaire developer, philanthropist and art collector Eli Broad is putting his modern art museum downtown, finally eliminating Santa Monica from the running, though the Santa Monica thing was seen by most knowledgeable people as a negotiating ploy and not a serious consideration.

To be sure, this 120,000 square foot public museum of contemporary art is a major score for downtown L.A. and marks an important step in the city's cultural growth.

“We believe in downtown,” Broad said after the Grand Avenue Authority, which governs the big Grand Avenue redevelopment project, gave final approval to the proposed downtown museum location.

This was the final step, after clearing the county Board of Supervisors, City Council and the Community Redevelopment Agency. The museum will go at Second and Grand, next to Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Broad will endow the museum with $200 million. He'll pay about $8 million for a long-term lease to the Community Redevelopment Agency. The money will go for affordable housing within the Grand Avenue Project.

How much you wanna bet the “affordable housing” goes to the starving nephews and nieces of pols and other connected players, but anyway….

Insiders say Broad wanted and got an expedited approval process. Indeed, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa put out a statement lauding Broad's decision, saying the project will begin to create construction jobs as soon as this Fall.

-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us.

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