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Sarasota-Manatee
Business Observer Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 9 months ago

Plans unveiled for new $130M aquarium

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Sarasota's Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium will build a new aquarium at Nathan Benderson Park.

SARASOTA — Sarasota's Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium announced it will build a new $130 million aquarium within Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota County.

The Mote Science Education Aquarium is planned as a 110,000-square-foot, four-story facility. In current plans, it will be more than twice as large as Mote's existing aquarium and sit on a five-acre site within the park.

Mote's $130 million capital campaign to raise money for the aquarium is called "Oceans for All: Improving Access to Marine Science & Technology." A statement about the announcement says Mote aims to start construction in 2019. Commitments for over 20% of the facility's cost have already been made.

“This spectacular new facility and campus will embody our vision of Oceans for All, doubling the number of visitors whose lives are enriched by marine science each year, and providing no-cost opportunities for all schools to utilize specialized teaching labs to ensure that every child has the opportunity for hands-on marine science and technology experiences," says Mote President and CEO Michael Crosby.

According to a YourObserver.com article, although Mote plans to build the aquarium on county-owned land, it has not yet made an agreement with the county to proceed with the project. Mote will now make a formal request for a lease agreement.

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