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January 9, 2007

New York’s Museum of Art set to grow after property sale

NEW YORK

Little more than two years after a major expansion, the Museum of Modern Art is set to grow again.

MoMA has negotiated a land deal that will yield about 4,500 square metres of additional space to display paintings and sculptures, museum director Glenn Lowry said.

The museum will sell a piece of vacant land for US$125 million to Houston-based development company Hines, adding an estimated $65 million to its $650-million endowment after construction costs, Lowry said.

Hines spokesperson George Lancaster confirmed the deal and said Hines was “thrilled to be working with MoMA,” but declined to comment on the sale price.

The property is one of several the midtown Manhattan museum acquired in recent years, as it planned to expand.

In 2004, an addition made of glass and steel was completed.

In the latest plan, Hines will construct a mixed-use building that will include approximately 900 square metres of museum storage space.

The building will be part of a larger project, Lancaster and Lowry said.

The lot has about 18,500 square metres of building space, the director said.

Hines has developed other buildings in New York, including the 34-storey office tower 53rd at Third, also known as the Lipstick Building, in 1986.

The museum space will connect to its main building on several floors, Lowry said.

There was no architect or timetable yet, but the project was expected to take at least five years.

The museum closed during the last expansion and showcased its art in a temporary space in Queens, but it will stay open this time, Lowry said.

"Everyone felt great about the decision. There were no issues on anyone's mind."

Jerry Speyer

Developer

A museum trustee and real estate developer who helped negotiate the sale, Jerry Speyer, said the board agreed readily to the deal.

“Everyone felt great about the decision,’’ he said. “There were no issues in anyone’s mind.’’

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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