The Museum of Natural History is planning to construct a new six-story building to the west of its existing structure, taking over part of Theodore Roosevelt Park.
The $325 million new building would “feature exhibitions showcasing scientific topics, as well as labs and theaters for scientific presentations,” according to an article in the New York Times on Thursday.
The newspaper hinted at possible battles to come over the development. One of our readers, who had already heard wind of the plans, also expressed discontent: “The place they call ‘open space’ is a park. Can you imagine an institution with a mission to educate the public about the environment building on a park?”
“The vast majority of the open space on the west side of the museum, between 77th and 81st Streets, will remain open space when the project is completed,” said Ann Siegel, the museum’s senior vice president for operations and capital programs.
The Friends of Roosevelt Park, which helps manage the park along with the city parks department, is waiting to comment. The group told us: “We were informally briefed on this project, but will have no comment until after our January Board meeting.”
While there may be a battle ahead, the city already appears ready to support he project; a preliminary capital budget shows $15 million earmarked for the project.
The Times has more details:
“Over all, the addition would total 218,000 square feet, roughly the size of the new Whitney Museum of American Art downtown. Of that, 180,000 square feet would be new; the rest would incorporate existing space. The addition would improve visitor circulation throughout the entire museum, Ms. Futter said, and create spaces targeted to different age groups. There also would be food and retail areas.”
On the current timeline, it would likely be completed around 2019.
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