MOSH Announces $80 Million Expansion Plan For Its Southbank Science Museum

Mar 15, 2019

Jacksonville's Museum of Science and History announced an $80 million plan on Friday to renovate and expand its Southbank campus next to Friendship Park.

The MOSH will be reorienting the museum’s entryway toward the St. Johns River and expanding from 77,000-square-feet to 120,000- square-feet.

“As a fixture on the Southbank of Downtown, MOSH is in a perfect position to transform our riverfront with an iconic campus where science, culture and innovation come together,” said MOSH President Maria Hane.

The project will include a café on the park, a rooftop conference center, event space and exhibit space expansion. 

Jacksonville's ELM design group and GAI Consultants are working with the MOSH on the project along with Gyroscope, which is a national architectural firm that specializes in museums.

The MOSH is seeking a combination of public and private funding for the expansion, with a goal of raising $20 million from businesses, foundations and individuals.

Hane said MOSH is also going after federal, state and city dollars to fund the project. She expects to have enough funding secured to break ground in two years and complete the expansion and renovation by 2023.

She said the MOSH project is "critical to downtown development. It's critical to talent, attraction, and retention for Jacksonville's workforce."

The museum is calling its fundraising campaign MOSH 2.0: Expanding the Capacity to Inspire Innovation and has launched a website in support of the campaign.

“Our plans will support Downtown development, bolster regional tourism and allow our children to develop the skills to succeed in the modern, 21st-century workforce,” said Hane.

Assuming the funding is secured, the plan would more than double the number of people the Museum can serve annually, from 229,239 in 2017 to an estimated 468,000 by 2023, according to MOSH.

The MOSH’s planned expansion comes at a time when overall Southbank development is booming. Last month Baptist Health announced another expansion at its Southbank campus, where a new $187 million seven-story Wolfson Children's Critical Care Tower will be built.

The city has also approved an economic incentives deal for The District, which will be a 30-acre mixed-used project along the Southbank next to the Duval County Schools headquarters that will focus on housing for residents with healthy lifestyles.

The finishing touches are also being put on the new Broadstone River House luxury apartments that line the Southbank at 1655 Prudential Drive.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.