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American Arts and Crafts Museum in St. Petersburg ready to build

ST. PETERSBURG — Construction of the $70 million Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement in downtown is about to start.

Work was expected to start in January, but the permits were not ready until Monday, according to the city's construction services and permitting office.

"Mobilization has begun," said Rudy Ciccarello, the businessman and collector who is spearheading the project at Fourth Avenue N between Third and Fourth streets.

The museum's founder said construction is expected to take 24 to 26 months.

In November, the museum announced it had signed a contract with Gilbane Construction for the much-anticipated project designed by architect Alberto Alfonso of Alfonso Architects in Tampa.

The five-story, 137,000-square-foot facility will house Ciccarello's vast collection of furniture, pottery, tile, metalwork, lighting, photography and other decorative arts from the American Arts and Crafts movement.

The more than $70 million construction cost does not include the $16 million already spent to acquire 3.2 acres of prime property in St. Petersburg's downtown, construction of the museum's parking garage, architectural, consulting fees, and permitting.