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. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31


    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win


    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday


    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  5. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter


    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle