Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa council approves $37-million art museum contract

TAMPA — Three years ago, when plans for a new art museum collapsed, its future seemed in doubt. But on Thursday, the City Council approved a contract for construction of a new home for the Tampa Museum of Art.

The $37-million contract with Skanska USA also covers renovation of the surrounding Curtis Hixon Park. That figure includes $8-million provided by the museum's private fundraising efforts.

The vote brings to a close a years-long, emotional saga that included a 2005 standoff between Mayor Pam Iorio and museum leaders over the new building.

"We're glad to have this behind us," Ray Ifert, chairman of the museum board, said after the council's unanimous vote. "It's been a long time."

Iorio called it "a positive day for our city."

"The museum and the park will one day be a central feature of our waterfront and our downtown," she said. "We have worked hard over the past four years to build consensus and support for both of these projects."

Groundbreaking for the 65,800-square-foot museum is slated for April 18. The total cost of the project is $31-million.

The city is contributing $17-million in community investment tax money generated by sales taxes. Ifert said the museum closed on a construction loan earlier this week to help cover the balance.

Discussion of a new museum dates back to 2001, when then-Mayor Dick Greco pledged $27-million to the project. Construction of a $76-million building by renowned architect Rafael Vinoly was slated to begin in 2003. The city paid Vinoly $7-million for his work.

But shortly after taking office in 2003, Iorio postponed groundbreaking until museum leaders could show they had raised enough money to cover the cost to build and operate the new facility.

Although museum officials said they collected more than $40-million in pledges, they failed to secure financing for the building, and the Vinoly plan was scrapped in March 2005.

Iorio proposed alternative sites for the museum, and she and museum leaders in 2006 ultimately settled on a location on the Hillsborough River near the William F. Poe Garage.

Demolition of the old building began in February.

In other action, the City Council elected Tom Scott as its new chairman after council member John Dingfelder nominated him for the post. Scott replaces Gwen Miller, who served as chairwoman for the past four years.

Council member Charlie Miranda had nominated Miller for another term, saying the council needed someone patient, "not insulting," who could work well with other government leaders.

Miranda held the chairman's position for several years during previous tenures on the board.

"I don't ever want to be chair with this group," said Miranda, who is often visibly frustrated during council meetings. "And I mean that sincerely."

Janet Zink can be reached at or (813) 226-3401.

Tampa council approves $37-million art museum contract 04/03/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 9, 2008 12:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In your 20s and living with mom and dad? In Florida, you're not alone.

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — After graduating from the University of Florida in 2015, Gabrielle Piloto jumped on the highway and headed south to Tampa.

    Gabrielle Piloto, 22, moved home to live with her grandparents in West Tampa after graduating from the University of Florida in 2015. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]

  2. Review: Nick White's 'How to Survive a Summer' takes on homophobia at its worst


    Will Dillard's summer camp experience is a real horror movie.

  3. Senate leaders unveil bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act


    The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans, who have promised a repeal of the Affordable Care Act for seven years, took a major step on Thursday toward that goal, unveiling a bill to cut Medicaid deeply and end the health law's mandate that most Americans have health insurance.

    U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The bill's chief author, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has said "Obamacare is collapsing around us, and the American people are desperately searching for relief." [AP]
  4. Southwest Airlines to offer flights from Tampa to San Diego


    TAMPA — Southwest Airlines will offer new nonstop service from Tampa International Airport to San Diego International Airport beginning Jan. 8, 2018.

    Southwest Airlines is planning to launch service from Tampa to San Diego.
[Times file photo]
  5. The greatest coaches never to win it all


    As foregone conclusions go, some things are approaching the death-and-taxes stratosphere: summer humidity in Florida, a Kardashian seeking attention, and Mike Martin coming up short in Omaha.

    Florida State coach Mike Martin walks to the mound to talk to pitcher Cole Sands during the second inning of the team's NCAA College World Series baseball game against LSU Wednesday in Omaha, Neb. [AP photo]