David Geffen is going to help Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher hall get a makeover and a new name.
The entertainment mogul is donating $100 million for the renovation of the Avery Fisher Hall, which will require a total $500 million in restoration costs, according to the New York Times. The Avery Fisher Hall, where the New York Philharmonic performs, will be renamed to the David Geffen Hall, starting in September. There is a precedent; the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center was renamed to the David Koch theater after the oil giant donated $100 million in 2008, so how much more appropriate to rename a cultural center for Geffen, who is actively involved in arts and entertainment.
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The hall was built in 1963, and the need for improvement to its acoustics has been a sore point for many years, so the renovations are long overdue. The question was how to get the funding, but the Fisher’s family refusal to allow the hall to be renamed was an obstacle, until the family sold its naming rights for $15 million. Once the ability to rename the hall was secured, finding donors would be easier.
While Koch said the name of his theater can be changed in 50 years, Geffen demands the hall be named for him in perpetuity. He doesn’t see this as much to ask, and told the New York Times, “I think it’s appropriate. How many times can you change the name of this hall?”