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Jax Daily Record Monday, Jul. 26, 202101:20 PM EST

DIA to consider negotiations for new MOSH at Shipyards

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Museum CEO Bruce Fafard says the organization has $31.8 million in donations committed for its proposed Northbank facility. 
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

The Downtown Investment Authority board is scheduled to vote July 29 on a resolution to start negotiations with the Museum of Science and History to move its facility to part of the vacant city-owned Shipyards property on the Northbank.

The action would authorize DIA CEO Lori Boyer to begin talks with MOSH leadership about the museum’s plans to build on a portion of a 21.7-acre parcel.

According to a DIA document, the nonprofit Jessie Ball duPont Fund designed a master plan for the Downtown waterfront from Catherine Street to Metropolitan Park that calls for a civic attraction at Shipyards East.

The DIA board and City Council voted earlier this year to donate $60,000 to the duPont study.

The negotiations between DIA and MOSH would be a step toward finalizing a development agreement and property disposition for the project, according to the resolution.

MOSH announced in October it plans to relocate from 1025 Museum Circle on the Downtown Southbank, its home since 1967.

In a July 22 email, CEO Bruce Fafard said the organization has $31.8 million in commitments from individual donors, businesses and civic funding for its MOSH Genesis capital relocation campaign. 

“Based on the current DIA process, we anticipate gaining access to the site between December 2021 and February 2022,” he said.

 “We will begin construction as soon as possible and anticipate opening the new museum in 2025, based on our current timelines.”

Jordan Elsbury, Mayor Lenny Curry’s chief of staff, said July 21 there is $12 million in the mayor’s proposed 2021-22 Capital Improvement Plan for the MOSH relocation. 

Fafard said in October that MOSH wants to secure about 4 acres at the Shipyards for an $80 million to $90 million facility. 

Former Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver donated an undisclosed of money to the project in May.

MOSH Genesis also received a $5 million donation from Jaguars owner Shad Khan in November. Khan also intends to develop the former Kids Kampus park adjacent to the Shipyards.

Council could soon debate a deal with Khan’s development company Iguana Investments Florida LLC for a $321 million Four Seasons hotel anchored development on Kids Kampus east of the proposed MOSH site and southwest of TIAA Bank Field.

Drafts of the duPont Fund’s master plan released by the DIA in June show the museum sitting east of Hogans Creek and surrounded by more than 13 acres of city park and civic space. 

City officials said a MOSH move will complement the DIA’s proposal to replace the Kids Kampus with nearly 11 acres of public green space on the western end of the Shipyards. 

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