“As you can see, MONA needs a permanent location to display these historic gems,” Koga said.
Under the proposed 15-year lease terms, the city would pledge up to $1 million in redevelopment funds to help renovate the vacant building.
The museum would pay a phased rent starting at $0 for the first two years, eventually reaching $7,500 per month.
Council members lauded the museum as the city’s first major step into the arts world beyond what’s available at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Glendale and other historical sites.
“In MONA is an opportunity to establish Glendale in the area of arts and culture in our downtown,” said Councilman John Drayman, who was instrumental in courting the museum.
Founded in 1981, the nonprofit museum offers educational programming and tours alongside its permanent collection and rotating exhibitions.
If the museum makes the move to Glendale, museum officials plan to institute community outreach efforts, such as neon displays along mid-Brand Boulevard and the Brand Boulevard of Cars, Koga said.
“We think this match presents some unique opportunities for both Glendale and MONA,” she said.
Originally, the lot was slated to be razed to make way for a proposed paseo linking the Central Park and larger civic campus to Brand Boulevard and the Americana at Brand across the way.
To accommodate the museum, officials have since narrowed the planned paseo from 100 feet to 50 feet wide to allow the former Rite Aid building to remain. City officials envision the museum as a key part of a new pedestrian passageway that would also draw visitors to the downtown area.
City Manager Jim Starbird said the proposal made “economic sense” because the cost of demolishing the building and creating the wider walkway would have had a similar price tag to the renovations needed for the museum.
“We were going to spend the money, whether on MONA or not,” he said.