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First Coast

MOSH moves forward with new museum on Northbank

The Museum of Science and History has taken a major step toward its move to the Northbank.

The Downtown Investment Authority voted 6-0 last week to support the details of a lease for MOSH on 4 acres of the Shipyards, including a 1.5-acre riverwalk and park space.

The $1-per-year ground lease will move to the Jacksonville City Council for approval, and MOSH plans to present a full site plan to the DIA by Sept. 30.

“This development is an important step forward in our efforts to deliver a dynamic, iconic and innovative new MOSH at the Shipyards,” Bruce Fafard, CEO of MOSH, said a news release. “Our discussions with the DIA over the past several months have resulted in a resolution that paves the way for an iconic addition to the Northbank skyline. Together with our architecture and design partners, we look forward to finalizing the lease as soon as possible.”

MOSH site.jpg
Jacksonville Daily Record
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The museum celebrated its 80th anniversary last year and has operated at 1025 Museum Circle
since 1969. But it has outgrown the 77,000-square-foot quarters and plans to build a significantly larger building across the river by December 2027.

MOSH had planned to expand its existing building but encountered construction challenges. A consultant's analysis found that a new 130,000-square-foot building on the Northbank would increase annual attendance from 175,000 to 469,000, nearly triple the museum's pre-pandemic budget and create 78 jobs.

MOSH says a fundraising campaign has raised more than 36% of the project's estimated $85 million cost.

"The DIA’s approval to proceed with a land lease is a win-win for our community and the many generous supporters who have committed to helping us turn this vision into a reality," said Christian Harden, chair of the MOSH board of trustees. "Securing this approval reinforces both MOSH’s strength as a civic treasure and the community's enthusiasm for a nationally significant museum utilizing the green space on the banks of the St Johns River."