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More delay for the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement

Bill DeYoung

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Designed by Alphonso Architects, the empty $90 million, five-story museum is at the intersection of 4th Street N. and 3rd Avenue. Photos by Bill DeYoung

The oft-delayed Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, at the intersection of 4th Street and 3rd Avenue N., has hit another snag.

A suit filed Dec. 23 in Pinellas Circuit Court seeks damages for breach of contract and delay from Buffalo, N.Y.-based Litelab, Inc., contracted by the American Craft Museum, Inc. to provide lighting fixtures, including some required for “focused illumination” on pieces of art.

ACM seeks judgment against Litelab for damages in the amount of $74,995, together with prejudgment interest and costs.

The 137,000-square-foot facility was built, at a cost of $90 million, by Tarpon Springs pharmaceutical giant Rodolph “Rudy” Ciccarello to display his extensive collection of works from the early 20th century.

Ciccarello is a renowned collector and expert on the period, and his collection is considered one of the finest in the world. It includes furniture, pottery, tiles, metalworks, lighting (from table lamps to chandeliers) and other functional crafts, plus jewelry, color woodblock prints, photography and other decorative works of the period.

Ciccarello’s museum odyssey began in 2013, when his Two Red Roses Foundation began the search for a site, abandoning the original plans for a Tampa location before settling on the 3.2 acre St. Petersburg property. Originally planned as four stories, the steel, glass and stone museum gained a floor within its first year.

Construction began in 2015, with a 300-space parking garage. The museum opening was first announced for 2017.

In June 2020, executive director Tom Magoulis said, in an interview with the Catalyst, that production delays were keeping the museum from opening, specifically the design and installation of custom-made platforms and vitrines (glass display cases) to house the vintage art.

In early 2020, the museum sued Quarter Sawn Flooring, Inc., for failure to deliver a promised product

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, he said, the New York manufacturer lost valuable production time. “So they couldn’t produce the materials that we needed,” according to Magoulis. “That put us back a number of months.”

Among the allegations in the latest suit: “Litelab’s failure to deliver materials within the allotted time contracted for was the direct and proximate cause of negative impacts to the critical path of the project such that the electrical sub-contractor was precluded from continuing its scope of work.”

Magoulis declined to comment for this story; emails to Ciccarello were not immediately returned.

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