Academy switches builders for museum project

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Saturday that it has switched construction companies for the forthcoming Academy Museum.

The long-awaited project began construction a year ago on the site of the May Company building on Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. Morley Builders and Taslimi Construction were hired to renovate the 1939 Streamline Moderne department store and add a spherical structure that will serve as a 1,000-seat theater.

In a statement, an Academy spokesperson said that a new builder, MATT Construction, will take over the project on June 1.

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"Led by Morley + Taslimi, the Academy Museum is nearing successful completion of the first phase of construction, which focused primarily on the demolition, excavation, and structural renovation of the May Company building — housing most of the Museum's galleries — and the construction of new underground spaces," the Academy said. "Having reached this important milestone, the Museum looks forward to working with MATT Construction on its next major phase, including the building of the new spherical structure."

The project has been subject to delays in the past. The museum was initially intended to open in late 2016, but that schedule has repeatedly been pushed back. The Academy recently announced that the space will open in the spring of 2019, saying the museum will benefit from the publicity boost from that year's Oscar broadcast. The Academy has also undertaken a $388 million capital campaign to pay for the project.