The Dali Museum is going back to the drawing board to reconfigure its $42 million expansion plans.
The Dali is the most visited art museum in Florida, and is a huge asset for St. Pete as it attracts 400,000-500,000 visitors annually and generates a $160 million annual economic impact for the region. However, the museum’s current footprint and lack of parking spaces limits the capacity of visitors it can admit.
Over several years, The Dali has planned a massive expansion to meet this need and initially planned to add a new wing with 20,000 square feet for community spaces and digital exhibits, and a new 150,000-square-foot parking garage, among other features. The cost was estimated to be $38.7 million, but the price tag has jumped to $42 million due to the increased cost of materials. The museum is also facing other additional looming issues beyond the increased cost.
The annual Grand Prix race uses Lot 3, which is the lot where The Dali is proposing to construct its new parking garage.
Per the lease agreement, The Dali cannot build a structure that would interfere with the Grand Prix.
The Dali is now looking to collaborate with the city of St. Pete to utilize and receive revenue from some adjacent parking source.
“We need the city to help solve these problems. We think we have a bright future ahead, but we haven’t come to a solution yet,” museum director Hank Hine said during his project presentation to the St. Pete City Council board.
Hine informed the board of various ideas on addressing the issue. One idea discussed entails The Dali constructing an elevated parking garage that would allow the Grand Prix to be held without disruption.
“Instead of building on Lot 3 and experiencing the problems that it would create, our plan was to build over Lot 3,” Hine said, showing a renderings of an elevated garage that would have three levels of parking and flexible space.
Another was to possibly utilize the parking garage used by the Mahaffey Theater.
Diverging from the original plans, The Dali would also add 40,000 square feet of new exhibition and educational space to the building that would occur on a stretch of Lot 6. However, The Dali would need to work with the city and go through a referendum process in order to use that piece of property.
The next steps The Dali will take will be to work with the city’s real estate and legal department to create a notice in order to the community in the surrounding area about the new construction. The notice is required, as well as public hearings, due to a referendum needed on the November ballot.
The notice would have to be published by July 1 and then the city council will have full purview on the public hearings, which are slated to be held Aug. 5 and 12.
While there are many obstacles to tackle with the city, The Dali maintains a strong vision for its future. Not only will the additional square footage allow it to have more programs, The Dali is also focused on introducing more digital experiences into the museum as part of the expansion plans.