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Monday, Sep 25, 2023

Thousand Oaks Approves Makeover of Civic Arts Plaza Campus

Thousand Oaks City Council has approved a $1.4 million contract to create the Civic Arts Plaza Campus Master Plan, according to a Thousand Oaks Acorn report. The Council voted 5-0 to approve the contract with Pasadena-based engineering firm Aecom. The announcement of the overhaul coincides with the 25th anniversary year of Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. The vote also called for the creation of an ad hoc committee involving two Council members to guide the process on the civic campus, which is home to the community’s City Hall as well as two performance venues. The current Civic Arts Plaza campus includes the 1,800-seat Kavli Theatre and the 394-seat Scherr Forum, plus 97,000 square feet of office space used by the city and five levels of parking structure. In recent years, the Kavli has attracted such varied acts as Mel Brooks, Rita Rudner and the band Chicago to its stage. According to Community Development Director Mark Towne, the site, valued at $80 million, draws roughly 200,000 visitors a year. A city administration panel comprised of the assistant city manager, deputy public works director, deputy cultural affairs director, deputy community development director and facilities manager selected Aecom from the 15 applicants — including Westlake Village-based L. Newman Design Group Inc. — who responded to an August request for proposals. Towne said at the Jan. 8 Council meeting that city staff had gelled with the Aecom team. Aecom is a Fortune 500 firm on the New York Stock Exchange which employs 87,000 people worldwide and reported $18.2 billion in revenue for 2017. Although Aecom often tackles more ambitious governmental and industrial projects, the firm has experience in planning civic and cultural centers, including in Los Angeles and Hawaii, as well as downtown revitalization projects in San Diego and its Tri-Cities home base. City executives and council members reached a consensus that the high cost of the project befits what they view as a first-class, worldwide entertainment venue. The city council approved a contract that earmarks $393,000 toward background work (pre-design meetings, analysis, base map and floor plan preparation); $529,700 for conceptual design; $179,700 toward the approval process (which includes master plan report preparation and various meetings and public hearings); $169,300 for public engagement and outreach; $48,100 to cover reimbursable expenses; and $100,000 for extra services identified to be relevant by the ad hoc committee. The city has $6.1 million set aside in general fund reserves for construction costs of Civic Arts Plaza improvements. The City Council expects work on the master plan to take more than a year to complete.

Michael Aushenker
Michael Aushenker
A graduate of Cornell University, Michael covers commercial real estate for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. Prior to the Business Journal, Michael covered the community and entertainment beats as a staff writer for various newspapers, including the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, The Palisadian-Post, The Argonaut and Acorn Newspapers. He has also freelanced for the Santa Barbara Independent, VC Reporter, Malibu Times and Los Feliz Ledger.

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