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June 18, 2018


Drawing Board

Amy Keller | 2/1/2007

Under former Mayor Dick Greco, Tampa began planning a facility to replace the 22-year-old Tampa Museum of Art. And in 2002, New York architect Rafael Viñoly unveiled a design for a larger, more contemporary building that the city hoped would become a catalyst for transforming its 28-block waterfront into a cultural arts district.

Museum interim Executive Director Ken Rollins says living and working downtown will become more attractive once the museum is built. [Photo: Tom Berndt]
By 2005, however, the museum's price tag had ballooned from $54 million to $76 million, and city leaders were quibbling over the pace of the fund raising and a precise location for the facility. Financing didn't meet a deadline set by Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, and the art museum's board of trustees killed the Viñoly design and went back to the drawing board. Longtime museum art director Emily Kass resigned less than a month later.

Three plans later, museum and city officials say they've addressed the issues that have stymied the project. The new museum will be downtown in redeveloped Curtis Hixon Park. The city has earmarked $18.5 million for the $40-million project, and the museum is raising money privately. In December, the board of trustees selected San Francisco architect Stanley Saitowitz to design the museum complex.

The museum's new chief, interim Executive Director Ken Rollins, says the museum will make living and working in downtown Tampa much more attractive. "I think we're on the cusp of a really, really dramatic change in the city of Tampa in the next five years."

Tags: Politics & Law, Southwest, Government/Politics & Law

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