Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Art museum move is gaining steam

Citizen Staff Writer



The groundwork will likely be put in place Tuesday for the Museum of Contemporary Art to move next year into the Tucson Fire Department Headquarters, 265 S. Church Ave., if the museum can find the money needed.

The City Council is expected to authorize the city staff to negotiate and execute a lease with MOCA to occupy the approximately 25,000-square-foot fire station and garage. The lease terms are $1 per year for five years with MOCA assuming all costs for building improvements and operating within the 1971 structure, said Lou Ginsberg, director of the city’s real estate program.

“They need to get into the building, spend time with architects, come up with costs to make the necessary improvements and demonstrate they have the financial wherewithal to do that,” said Ginsberg, adding that MOCA has a Nov. 30 deadline to accomplish these tasks.

MOCA submitted the only response to a city request for proposals for new occupants of the Fire Department headquarters once TFD moves into its new headquarters on Cushing Street later this year or early next year.

“This gives them a commitment that they are in the No. 1 spot,” Ginsberg said.

MOCA has no exhibition space, though the museum puts on frequent events at satellite locations. MOCA last year had temporary exhibition space in another city-owned building at 149 N. Stone Ave.

“We have a general idea already (how much renovations would cost),” said Randi Dorman, president of MOCA’s board of directors. “We would have never submitted (a proposal) if it was not within our range to accomplish. We are an extremely fiscally responsible board and organization.”

Dorman declined to say how much she thinks renovations would cost. MOCA will raise funds and use some of the $110,000 Warhol Initiative grant it received in 2007 along with another $50,000 infusion anticipated from the Andy Warhol Foundation, which awards Warhol Initiative grants.

“People have been coming up to us asking us how they can help,” Dorman said. “We are going to do a more formal campaign later in the year.”

MOCA has evaluated the building from the outside and had one tour inside.

“We have a basketball team’s worth of architects on our team,” said Dorman, who is married to architect Rob Paulus. “We’re confident the work that needs to be done can be done within our budget.”

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