Executives from the shuttered Petersen Automotive Museum say their Miracle Mile temple for car fanatics will reopen on time, and on budget, and will feature a new restaurant and reflect the participation of multiple new deep-pocketed partners.
"We're on track and we're on budget," the Petersen's executive director, Terry Karges, told a small audience on the fairway at the Lodge at Pebble Beach, hours before the prestigious Concours d'Elegance awards were to be distributed. "We will be open on Dec. 5."
The Petersen's chairman of the board, Peter Mullin, announced a new food partnership. After months of meetings and proposals, he said, the Petersen set a deal to allow the Drago restaurants' four brothers to operate the new museum's ground-floor and fourth-floor restaurants, and to run its catering business.
The Drago restaurant family, consisting of brothers Celestino, Tanino, Calogero and Giacomino, operates eateries in Los Angeles, New Orleans and other cities.
Mullin and other Petersen representatives also said the new museum has finalized its partnership with Pixar Animation Studios. The agreement will add branded displays from Pixar's movie "Cars" to the museum.
Some elements of the "Cars Mechanical Institute" interactive section of the new museum will be voiced by "Cars" actors Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy.
"This is the chance for a new generation to develop a passion for cars -- to love them and know how they work," said Pixar's Jay Ward, who was on hand for the Petersen presentation.
Chairman Mullin said "a little more than $90 million" of the Petersen's fundraising goal of $125 million had already been achieved, ensuring the remodeling and the endowment of the new facility.
He added that new ongoing sponsorship relationships had been formed with Ford, BMW, Maserati, Automobile Assn. of America, X-Box and the insurance giant AIG.
The Petersen, located at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, has been closed for a massive face-lift since last October. It houses one of the preeminent car collections in the world. Most of the collection has spent the remodeling period at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, but will return to the museum this fall.