MOSH announces plans to move to Shipyards

The Museum of Science & History has announced plans to move from its South Bank location, which it has occupied since 1965, to a new museum to be built at the Shipyards on the North Bank.

MOSH CEO Bruce Fafard said the board wants to build a new $80 million facility on about four acres of the 45-acre Shipyards property west of Metropolitan Park and east of the unfinished Berkman Plaza II.

Although MOSH has offered no plans for the new museum, which it hopes to open by 2024, last year it launched a capital fundraising campaign to raise at least $20 million. MOSH recently received a substantial donation from the C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry Foundation and will name the education center for them.

However, Lori Boyer, CEO for the Downtown Investment Authority, said the Shipyards property is not yet available for development.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan is interested in developing it. Khan’s Iguana Investments Florida LLC, had a development agreement with the city for the site but it expired in August. However, Khan is expected to submit a new bid on the site.

But the city has also asked the National Parks Service if the Shipyards land could be swapped for Metropolitan Park, which Khan also wants to develop. Metropolitan Park is encumbered by a provision in a 1981 federal grant that prohibits selling the 24-acre property without a comparable replacement.

Khan said that he’s “all in” on the MOSH proposal and “wholeheartedly and personally” supports the move. 

“I’m not saying having MOSH there doesn’t have merit, but it’s premature to have a conversation about where MOSH would go until we can resolve these other issues,” Boyer said.  

DIA is going to ask MOSH to make a presentation to the Strategic Implementation Committee in November, Boyer said.

Boyer said she wants to look at the whole area from Catherine Street to WJCT as a whole.

Converting the Shipyards to a park would take it off the tax rolls. 

“We want something that facilitates other development, to build on the energy and connect with the area,” Boyer said. “Do you want to build a park across the street from the jail? If in the long-range plan, you’re going to move the jail, then we have enhanced the property by putting the museum there. We want to look at it in those long-range terms.”

By Lilla Ross
Resident community News

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