By Anita Varghese
Special to The Lookout
July 3 -- The Santa Monica Pier will see a 17-percent
boost in revenues during the 2007-08 fiscal year thanks to
an influx of cash from the City, which reaps millions in marketing
benefits from the historic wooden structure, according to
projections by the Pier Restoration Corporation.
Revenues are projected at $835,300, up from the $713,100
brought in during the fiscal year that ended June 30, according
to the latest Budget and Work Plan developed by the nonprofit
The primary source of revenue is a $489,300 grant from the
City, which reflects enhancements of $40,000 to support the
Twilight Dance Series and $15,000 for the 100th anniversary
“The City had the wisdom to save the Santa Monica Pier
in 1979 and has had the foresight to invest in the Pier over
the years to ensure its preservation and success,” said
Ben Franz-Knight, PRC executive director.
Additional revenues will come from Pier sponsorships, special
events, filming, promotions and licensing.
Given the talent scheduled to perform on the giant wooden
structure, the PRC could bring in an additional $12,400 more
from Twilight Dance Series sponsors, said Miriam Mack, an
economic development manager for the City. Acts performing
during the 10-week free concert series include rock legend
Patti Smith and Los Lobos.
By assuming responsibility for booking special events at
the Carousel, Mack said the PRC also anticipates a $42,700
revenue stream that the agency did not have last fiscal year.
The City currently has a one-year Carousel booking contract
with an outside operator that is set to expire in January
2008. City staff is looking into transitioning booking responsibilities
to the PRC.
Given that the PRC is a nonprofit agency, expenditures will
also increase by 17 percent from the previous year’s
adjusted budget. The increases will to pay the salary of one
new PRC employee, who will manage events, filming activities
and special weekend activities, Mack said.
Also rising are health insurance costs and other benefits
for employees, as well as the PRC’s marketing budget,
which reflects new costs for cooperative efforts with the
Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau, for printing
marketing communications materials and for Web site management.
The primary focus for PRC staff during fiscal year 2007-2008
will be planning for the Pier’s 100th anniversary, according
to the agency’s Work Plan.
Staff plans to install plaques commemorating the Pier’s
history and an exhibit on the deck area, and organize a community-based
committee to help plan a year’s worth of anniversary
Continued productions and annual events hosted or co-hosted
by the Pier include Wake Up the Waves, the Junior Acoustic
Music Series, Taste of Santa Monica, the Special Olympics
Pier del Sol and Celebration of the Arts.
“Serving a diverse mix of visitors and providing a
vast array of activities, the Santa Monica Pier is an internationally
recognized icon of great value to the City and its residents,”
One Work Plan goal accomplished in fiscal year 2006-2007
was the creation of a Pier Fund Ad Hoc Committee, which released
its first report last month in an effort to clearly convey
the City’s Pier Fund revenues and expenses.
The ad hoc committee, convened by the PRC, recommended that
Pier-related revenues and expenses be isolated within the
City’s budget to reduce the need for inter-fund transfers
and give the public a better picture of the Pier’s financial
impact on the City’s budget.
The report concludes that the Pier generates a surplus to
the City. Committee members have issues with a recently released
City-calculated $821,461 operating loss.
A surplus would result if consideration were given to the
Pier for helping generate business taxes, sales taxes, film
fees and half of the revenues from the public parking lot
at 1550 Pacific Coast Highway.
Although direct revenues from the Pier do not pay for the
capital improvements to the structure, the marketing value
the City receives when the Pier appears in television commercials
or movies is an indirect benefit to the City, according to
During fiscal year 2005-2006, the marketing value of television
and movie appearances was estimated to be $46 million, according
to PRC staff.
“The Santa Monica Pier is a net contributor to the
City’s operating budget,” said Franz-Knight. “The
iconic status of the Pier garners worldwide attention for
Santa Monica, providing benefits that extend beyond the modest
footprint of the Pier’s historic wooden deck.”