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Seattle Asian Art Museum Moves Forward with $54 Million Expansion

The Seattle Asian Art Museum will be allowed to continue with its plans for a major renovation and expansion project after the Seattle City Council voted unanimously in favor of the institution’s development plan on January 22, Alize Asplund of Capitol Hill Seattle reports. The project was originally opposed by members of the Seattle community who were upset about the institution’s plans to encroach on the land of the Volunteer Park—about 3,600 square feet of the museum’s new 13,650 addition will stretch into the public space.

However, after years of negotiations with the city, the museum has agreed to increase its list of public benefits—which include a new pay-what-you-wish admissions policy, free tours for Seattle public school groups, an increased number of public outreach efforts, and the addition of four new free days each month—in exchange for the renewal of its fifty-five-year lease and the zoning exemptions that will allow it to increase its footprint.

Led by LMN Architects, the expansion will include space for exhibitions, an education studio, and art storage. The project will also fund a major overhaul of the museum’s building, which was constructed in 1933. Upgrades to the facility include new heating and A/C systems, improved bathrooms, and seismic testing and modifications. It will cost approximately $54 million, with $21 million being provided for by the city. The museum will break ground in February, and is expected to complete the expansion by 2019.