After months of delays and funding issues that required a public bailout last year, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science is now aiming for a spring 2017 opening – although the museum is not providing an official date.
Museum officials told the Miami Herald the museum will likely be ready for its temporary certificate of occupancy this month or in February, with an informal opening in March. Construction is nearly completed on the $305 million museum, with interior spaces and galleries almost ready and exhibits being installed.
The latest opening was set for the end of 2016, The Real Deal previously reported, but now Frost Science president Frank Stenslow told the Miami Herald that the museum did not apply for its TCO in December because of incomplete exterior life-safety elements, like terraces for emergency exits.
Steslow also said the museum will soon announce about $7.5 million in new donations to help fund operations.
The new museum has been through its series of hurdles since announcing its move from Coconut Grove to downtown Miami’s Museum Park.
The project fell into serious financial trouble when it spent the $165 million in county funding before construction was completed, and the museum failed to secure a construction loan to close the gap.With monthly payments of up to $7 million to its general contractor looming, the crisis culminated in a controversial $45 million bailout from the county.
Work continued at the site, but the museum’s governance was purged in the fallout: In February, the Frosts canned the museum’s board of trustees and installed new members, including Patricia Frost herself. And in June, Gillian Thomas, the museum’s president and CEO of 13 years, announced her resignation less than a year ahead of the opening of the project she was tasked to oversee. [Miami Herald] – Katherine Kallergis