LeMay Car Museum shifts into gear

It’s been a good week for the folks behind the LeMay Car Museum.

After years of planning and fund-raising, museum officials announced Monday its board of directors approved a financing plan that would open the door to a ground-breaking ceremony this fall.

During Tacoma City Council’s noon study session yesterday, officials unveiled new design plans which call for a three-phased approach that would bring a car collector center, main pavilion, show field, and expansive retail.

Officials expect to open the first phase — a 165,000 square foot campus with parking, car collector center, vehicle storage, administration offices, research library and classrooms, banquet facilities, and restoration educational center — in September 2010.

A second phase would include 90,000 to 250,000 square feet of multi-level retail that could include cinemas, cafes, restaurants, and shopping.

Finally, a third phase would include a 250,000 square foot main pavilion with six galleries, main lobby, and banquet facilities for up to 800 people.

According to CEO David Madeira, the museum’s funding plan includes gifts and pledges received to date in the museum’s $58 million campaign; a $3.5 million low-interest, federally subsidized seven-year loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Section 108 Program; and an anticipated $4 million in New Market Tax Credits.

“There is a lot of good news and positive momentum about the museum,” Madeira told councilmembers. He added the museum has completed 90 percent of its fund-raising campaign (building funds account for 78 percent of the money raised), and it has received bids from “a good number of vetted general contractor firms.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

For additional images of the car collector center design, visit the Index’s blog at http://i.feedtacoma.com/TDI-Reporters-Notebook/