The Museum of Science & History (MOSH) has announced that it plans to build a new museum facility on the city-owned Shipyards property along the Northbank in downtown Jacksonville.
MOSH’s new Northbank facility would replace its existing structure at 1025 Museum Circle, which was previously set to be expanded as part of its MOSH 2.0 initiative.
The $80 million initiative, which will now shift its attention and funding toward the new facility, was set to expand the existing MOSH facility to 120,000 square feet of space and reorient its entrance to face the riverfront. The museum has already raised at least $2 million toward its $20 million community fundraising goal, with contributions from VyStar Credit Union and PNC Bank.
While details about the new facility have yet to be released by MOSH, it would likely be no smaller than 120,000 square feet in size and face the river. The organization states that it hopes to complement the existing mission to activate the downtown Jax riverfront, citing examples such as the proposed Ford on Bay mixed-use development and the new FIS headquarters in Brooklyn.
“As a mission-driven organization, our primary goal is to ensure our future plans align with MOSH’s value to this community — both today and in the future,” said MOSH CEO Bruce Fafard. “The presentation of a new site option at the Shipyards property provides an exciting opportunity to reconsider how we will serve Northeast Florida’s citizens and visitors in the years ahead.”
For the city, MOSH’s new plans are the culmination of decades-long efforts to attract development to its long-vacant Shipyards property. It would also officially close the door on any future development at the Shipyards by Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who had previously made the blighted property a top priority before shifting his focus toward Lot J and Metropolitan Park.
It’s not immediately clear how MOSH’s proposed facility would impact the Jacksonville Naval Museum, also proposed on a small portion of the Shipyards property, or potential efforts to add a riverfront park to the property as part of efforts to redevelop Met Park.
It’s also unclear what’s in store for the museum’s current building once it relocates. MOSH has occupied the building since the late 1960s when it was known as Jacksonville Children’s Museum.
Work on MOSH’s new riverfront facility is likely to begin in 2021, with an early projection of 2024 as its completion date.