University of Iowa moving forward on new Museum of Art

Site and development proposals due back to the university by July 1

Vanessa Miller
Published: March 12 2014 | 2:00 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:31 am in

University of Iowa administrators hope to establish a clear vision for a new Museum of Art building in the coming months, beginning Thursday with a request for qualifications from land owners and developers interested in partnering on the project.

The Iowa Board of Regents on Wednesday approved the request, which will invite interested developers and private owners of land near the center of campus to propose site layout options for the new museum. The proposals will be due back to the university by July 1, and they will be reviewed by a team of stakeholders.

That group expects to report back to regents on the proposal phase by the end of summer.

This week’s request follows an initial request for information and qualifications for a public-private partnership issued last year. The goal of that solicitation was to establish a range of potential site options and partnerships.

It resulted in feedback from both local and national developers and helped the university draft its request for qualifications.

A replacement museum is needed after the 2008 flood. The UI removed its arts collection from the building hours before it was flooded, but the former art museum on Riverside Drive was deemed unsuitable for artwork going forward.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied UI appeals for funds to build a new art museum away from the river, prompting officials to explore a public-private partnership for the project.

The UI did receive FEMA commitment to help restore the former Museum of Art building to its pre-flood condition, and administrators are planning that renovation.

Regarding plans for a new art museum, stakeholders will evaluate proposals based on their ability to meet current and future art collection needs and proximity to the core of campus. Developers also will be rated based on their plans' multi-use options – like residential, business or commercial partnerships – financial capability to deliver on the project and experience with similar projects.

After identifying top candidates, UI officials will enter into a “multi-month negotiation phase” with the chosen developers. This will include selection of a design team, completion of a design and establishment of a lease agreement, which will be presented to the board.

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