Author Topic: MOSH weighs relocating museum from its Southbank site in downtown Jacksonville  (Read 8221 times)

Steve

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Wouldn't be surprised if the MOSH board had Khan's pledge in hand when they voted to move.  If, indeed, MOSH is an asset along the river, it will benefit Khan's project as much as any* and he adds the "goodwill" of making a significant donation.  I hate being such a cynic, but I don't think much happens here based on altruism alone.  Sad to say and wish/hope I am wrong.  Let's see if Mr. Khan starts approaching the Weavers in expanding his generosity in his adopted City to get me thinking anew.

I will raise you - it seems entirely possible that Khan's interest was known before the relocation announcement was made....and that the donation was conditional on relocation to this area.

THIS I think is possible. I mean, I do think this could be beneficial overall.

I mean, IF it is a win-win, then I'm all for it.

thelakelander

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I wouldn't doubt it, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing. More of it needs to happen with DT IMO.
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marcuscnelson

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Guys, what if MOSH put out these fancy renderings of a new Northbank facility in a bid to secure funds from Khan, only to produce a vastly scaled-back version of what was originally proposed on their current Southbank property?

Not seeing it. Khan is not the only donor. Yes $5M is material but there are many local leaders driving this one, including Brian Wolfberg (VyStar CEO). I think Khan definitely did this for some goodwill, but $5M is $5M-lets appreciate the donation but still give Lot J and his various renderings the scrutiny that they deserve.

I thought they were making a joke about Daily's Place and Lot J. Fancy renderings to get people supporting us going halfsies, only to value engineer it to all hell and end up with what we have now.
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Ken_FSU

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Wouldn't be surprised if the MOSH board had Khan's pledge in hand when they voted to move.  If, indeed, MOSH is an asset along the river, it will benefit Khan's project as much as any* and he adds the "goodwill" of making a significant donation.  I hate being such a cynic, but I don't think much happens here based on altruism alone.  Sad to say and wish/hope I am wrong.  Let's see if Mr. Khan starts approaching the Weavers in expanding his generosity in his adopted City to get me thinking anew.

I will raise you - it seems entirely possible that Khan's interest was known before the relocation announcement was made....and that the donation was conditional on relocation to this area.

If politics played into the MOSH moving from the Southbank to the Northbank, my money's on the mayor's office getting involved, not the Jags. The $20 million in the CIP for MOSH 2.0 didn't magically appear out of nowhere. Nor does Khan have the power to essentially promise free city-owned land to the MOSH. Not saying the $5 million from Khan wasn't known about before (they've been talking about having significant, undisclosed private funding in place for a while now), but if they changed their plans, it was because someone quietly offered up free riverfront land and significant public support from the CIP, not because Khan offered up a $5 million donation.

It's funny that we talk about the lack of a master plan for downtown, because so often it feels like there's a secret master plan (and a secret CIP) sitting around in someone's drawer somewhere. Otherwise we wouldn't be seeing the Hart Bridge ramps removed before a term sheet for Lot J even existed. Or Rockville and a second Jags home game pushed out of Jacksonville to allow for Lot J construction when no official deal is in place. Or MOSH publicly announcing that they're moving to the Shipyards - a move that is predicated on the Jags developing Met Park. Or the rumblings about the jail being moved off the river. Or the talk about the Jags having dibs on the fairgrounds here in the next couple of years.

Been in Jacksonville long enough to know that about 90% of the ol' iceberg is underneath the waterline.

jaxjaguar

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I know we harp on this all the time, but if this move happens this is a great opportunity for clustering / combining projects.

I recently visited the Frost Museum of Science and Perez Art Museum in Miami. WOW! That whole area is amazing and is something we should aim for in Jax. The Science museum is combined with a rooftop aquarium and aviary which overlooks the massive public park, Art museum and downtown skyline nextdoor. The Monorail drops you off right in front of it all, so it's easy to get in and out if you're staying in one of the hotels downtown.

The museums and grounds around them were very well kept. The architecture was very modern and unique, incorporating plants into the sides of the buildings. There are also classes for kids and adults throughout the day which is a fun break from just looking at things.

If AquaJax still exists and has funding they should definitely consider splitting cost with MoSH to combine their projects. The Frost Museum is a great example of how an aquarium doesn't need to be massive to be impressive. Same goes for the folks trying to bring a Naval ship in. This would be a great opportunity for them to add to the "History" portion of MoSH while providing some sort of bonus ticket to tour a ship on the water. New York's Enterprise museum does this charging for a tour of the submarine nextdoor.

Although, I'd hate to see MoCA abandon the core it would benefit them to be near the new MoSH location as well. The Current MoCA space would make for a nice boutique hotel for the library and Sweet Pete's which often host weddings and other events. Currently, there are no overnight options for the wedding parties to walk to those venues. I could see it being an easy money maker as a hotel, post pandemic.

Ken_FSU

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^I'd like to see the Fire Museum added to the mix. No one is talking about it but it isn't on the Four Seasons plan. Would hate to see it get demoed for an apartment complex.

Don't forget that the Historical Society is planning their Southern Rock museum/concert space two blocks away from the proposed MOSH 2.0 space as well at the old Casket Factory building.

I recently visited the Frost Museum of Science and Perez Art Museum in Miami. WOW! That whole area is amazing and is something we should aim for in Jax. If AquaJax still exists and has funding they should definitely consider splitting cost with MoSH to combine their projects.

^Great analogy.

BEAUTIFUL museum and campus.

Would love to see something like this in Jax, though the scale would obviously be a little different ($300 million for Frost, with about $140 million coming from the the private capital campaign; $80 million for MOSH 2.0, with about $20 million coming from private capital).

The AquaJax group had a great relationship with MOSH, I actually really do like the idea of incorporating a much less expensive aquarium element within a new MOSH.

MOSH + Orleck + Fire Museum + Aquarium element + riverfront greenspace (with the Southern Rock museum on the other side of Maxwell House) would be really cool. As would the water taxi connection between the Zoo and the Aquarium/MOSH that was discussed way back when.

thelakelander

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Did the AquaJax group ever have any money? I've always felt the aquarium was a pipe dream, not a real feasible project with financial backing. Sort of like the observation deck thing for the Shipyards, prior to Khan's various proposals. So whatever can be included into the MOSH project, the better because that's as close as an aquarium will be materializing in DT Jax.
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Ken_FSU

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Did the AquaJax group ever have any money? I've always felt the aquarium was a pipe dream, not a real feasible project with financial backing.

Definitely seemed like a well-intentioned pipe dream from a nice group of marine-conscious folks, rather than a feasible project.

They originally came from OneSpark, and I believe the farthest they ever really got was a $50k feasibility study funded by the Weavers and Khans.

George Harrell, who was leading the group, passed away late last year.

Their biggest value to MOSH would be their expertise, rather than their capital, as I believe most of them have marine biology and/or zoological backgrounds.

jaxlongtimer

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Their biggest value to MOSH would be their expertise, rather than their capital, as I believe most of them have marine biology and/or zoological backgrounds.

I thought at one time there was talk of the Zoo operating any aquarium that got built.  I can see lots more synergies there than with MOSH.  With the Zoo having a dock, they could also shuttle patrons between it and a riverfront aquarium downtown using the river taxis.  Sell an all day tix package of parking (at the zoo avoiding finding a space downtown), zoo and aquarium admissions, taxi and maybe a food and souvenir package.  Can throw in MOSH if they can work it out (might need to add a two day ticket at that point :) ).  In other cities, museums join together and sell, for example, a 7 day ticket that admits to multiple museums/attractions. With the Zoo's fundraising track record, they might have the best chance to pull this off.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2020, 10:20:32 PM by jaxlongtimer »

Captain Zissou

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This may be an obvious statement, but there better be some sort of educational partnership with the Riverkeeper, SJWMD, and potentially the Florida Springs Institute; especially if there is going to be an aquarium.  We need to educate people/children on the interconnectedness of the aquifer, the springs, our waterways, and climate change in order to make smarter decisions in the future.

I'd love to see some sort of outdoor tidal exhibit on Hogans Creek or the banks of the river, an aquarium modeled after the springs with the proper inhabitants, and a wetlands exhibit featuring mangroves and grasses mimicking the keys and everglades.

Josh

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Their biggest value to MOSH would be their expertise, rather than their capital, as I believe most of them have marine biology and/or zoological backgrounds.

I thought at one time there was talk of the Zoo operating any aquarium that got built.  I can see lots more synergies there than with MOSH.  With the Zoo having a dock, they could also shuttle patrons between it and a riverfront aquarium downtown using the river taxis.  Sell an all day tix package of parking (at the zoo avoiding finds a space downtown), zoo and aquarium admissions, taxi and maybe a food and souvenir package.  Can throw in MOSH if they can work it out (might need to add a two day ticket at that point :)).  In other cities, museums join together and sell, for example, a 7 day ticket that admits to multiple museums/attractions. With the Zoo's fundraising track record, they might have the best chance to pull this off.

Linking the zoo and the aquarium via water taxi was brought up as a desire by the AquaJax people initially.

Steve

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This may be an obvious statement, but there better be some sort of educational partnership with the Riverkeeper, SJWMD, and potentially the Florida Springs Institute; especially if there is going to be an aquarium.  We need to educate people/children on the interconnectedness of the aquifer, the springs, our waterways, and climate change in order to make smarter decisions in the future.

I'd love to see some sort of outdoor tidal exhibit on Hogans Creek or the banks of the river, an aquarium modeled after the springs with the proper inhabitants, and a wetlands exhibit featuring mangroves and grasses mimicking the keys and everglades.

This makes the most sense. But, the Zoo has a VERY ambitious master plan, which included:

 - Redoing the Parking lot (almost done)
 - A new front entrance (the existing one will become the education campus)
 - A new entry exhibit - Manatees were the discussion
 - A new feature for Orangutans
 - Rebuilt Lion Exhibit
-  A New Wild Florida
 - Redesigned riverfront

With the exception of the parking, they have a lot of plans already. This was also all before Covid.

So, while I agree the Zoo COULD do the aquarium, I'm not sure how interested they really are.

Steve

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Details here:

https://www.wokv.com/news/local/jacksonville-zoo-ten-year-overhaul-poised-begin/DFuOFLNFSxhbGreLqMOr2N/

For those not familiar with the current layout, if you find the "Manatee Gateway" (new entrance) and mentally draw a horizontal line left and right from there, everything above that is existing (save for the swapped entrance and education facilities and the relocated Wild Florida, which is now listed as "Congo Forest". Everything below that would be new, except for "Asia", which is the Land of the Tiger.

CityLife

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This may be an obvious statement, but there better be some sort of educational partnership with the Riverkeeper, SJWMD, and potentially the Florida Springs Institute; especially if there is going to be an aquarium.  We need to educate people/children on the interconnectedness of the aquifer, the springs, our waterways, and climate change in order to make smarter decisions in the future.

I'd love to see some sort of outdoor tidal exhibit on Hogans Creek or the banks of the river, an aquarium modeled after the springs with the proper inhabitants, and a wetlands exhibit featuring mangroves and grasses mimicking the keys and everglades.

Agreed that various groups should partner on this and there are many good options. JU's Marine Science Institute would also be a good partner. A REALLY big opportunity is to get OCEARCH to relocate their fleet to the site and create and exhibit. I believe they are currently at Mayport Village. They have a global following and might actually pull some people off I-95.

Along with Hogan's Creek kayaking, the other big ecotourism opportunity I see is to finally do something with Exchange Island. For such a big river, there are laughably few destinations for boaters. I live in the one of the best areas for offshore boating in the state (Jupiter), but there are still tons of cool places to boat inland. There are several places along the intracoastal you can dock and hike preserves at, numerous sandbars, and some great island parks. Peanut Island in the intracoastal near West Palm Beach would be a great model for Exchange Island. It's kayak and paddleboard distance from land and attracts tons of them, but also has docks, beaches, and sandbars for boats. It has some of the clearest water in the state and great snorkeling, so not totally analogous, but would still be a great model. It has camping, trails, fishing, hiking, and numerous picnic spots and pavilions. https://discover.pbcgov.org/parks/Pages/PeanutIsland.aspx

If the new MOSH wants to have a conservation/ecological focus, having the opportunity to offer boat tours, kayaks, and paddleboards to Exchange Island to get a feel for the wild St. Johns would be a big draw there and to Downtown in general. We used to do overnight sleepovers at MOSH as a kid, which was cool; but imagine doing stuff at MOSH all day and then taking a boat to camp out at Exchange Island. Of all the screw up's Jax has made related to Downtown, not taking full advantage of Exchange Island is up there as one of the big ones. If Mosh is going to the Northbank, it would be the perfect time for Jax to make an investment there that would not only benefit the general public, but also provide a huge boost to MOSH and downtown.

marcuscnelson

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Wow, I feel like I've seen those Zoo plans before, but boy do they look great. Any chance of a way to make this MOSH/Aquarium stuff an actual conversation?
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey