The Real Deal New York

MoMA files plans for estimated $93M expansion, but what does it ALL mean?

Museum to add space for theaters, exhibits, a library and confusion

November 17, 2015 02:05PM
By Kathryn Brenzel

The former American Folk Art Museum in Midtown (Inset: MoMA Director Glenn Lowry)

The former American Folk Art Museum in Midtown (Inset: MoMA Director Glenn Lowry)

The Museum of Modern Art is planning its biggest masterpiece yet, not that you’ll get it.

The museum is moving ahead with plans for an estimated $93 million expansion at the former home of the American Folk Art Museum, according to an application filed with the New York City Department of Buildings Tuesday.

The plans for an adjacent lot, at 45 West 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, call for 32,842 square feet of new space, which will include theaters, a library/lounge, classrooms, exhibit space and gardens, the application indicates. The estimated cost of the expansion, according to the application, is $93 million. MoMA representatives didn’t immediately return calls seeking confirmation on the stated estimate.

The filings are the latest step in the museum’s efforts to build out its 11 West 53rd Street space into a neighboring lot, occupied by the former folk art museum. MoMA bought the property in 2011 for $32.1 million, after the folk art museum relocated to a smaller space at Lincoln Square.

Last year, MoMa representatives said demolition of the folk art museum was necessary for the expansion, since the new space will connect to existing galleries and three floors of the planned 53W53, a Jean Nouvel-designed tower next to the MoMa.