MoMA Has Already Raised $650M for Renovation and Expansion, And More Is Coming

July 20, 2016

Rendering of MoMA renovation Via Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Just this week, it came to light that the Metropolitan Museum of Art may lay off as many as 100 employees as part of efforts to cut its $30 million deficit. As the New York Times previously explored, the struggling state of the Met exemplifies a shift in the art world towards modern and contemporary art. And standing as a true testament to this is MoMA’s current financial status.

The midtown museum has already raised $650 million towards its fundraising campaign, far exceeding the $450 million needed for its planned renovation and addition of three new gallery floors. In addition, they’ll also sell $280 million of tax-exempt bonds “to raise money for the project and refinance debt as borrowing costs drop to the lowest on record,” reports Crain’s.

MoMA Tower, 53W53, 53 West 53rd Street, Jean Nouvel, NYC starchitecture
Rendering of 53W53 via Jean Nouvel

MoMA’s renovation has been a bit controversial for the fact that they razed the Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects-designed American Folk Art Museum to make way for their Diller Scofidio and Renfro-designed expansion. Nonetheless, the institution will add 50,000 square feet of galleries, which they claim will help to alleviate congestion and improve circulation for the more than three million annual visitors. $50 million is earmarked for renovations at the current building at 11 West 53rd Street. Next year, work will begin on the $400 million expansion that includes three floors in the 82-story, Jean Nouvel-designed condo tower known as 53W53.

The $650 million sum is thanks in part to two large private gifts. The first comes from entertainment mogul David Geffen (estimated to be worth $6.8 billion), who donated $100 million and will therefore have the fourth-floor exhibition space renamed the David Geffen Galleries. There will also be a David Geffen Wing, three floors of new galleries in the adjacent Jean Nouvel residential tower. The second gift comes from hedge-fund manager Kenneth Griffin (he’s rumored to be the buyer of the $200 million penthouse at 200 Central Park South).

In addition to the renovation work, MoMA is raising funds for its endowment and operating expenses, as they expect revenue to decline during construction when some galleries are closed. Howard Cure, head of municipal research in New York at Evercore Wealth Management, told Crain’s of the $280 million bond sale, which will go through today: “While their balance sheet is strong, they are willing to make cuts on the expenditures side when the budget is getting tight. They have some discipline about not necessarily dipping into the balance sheet to subsidize operations even though they could afford to do that.”

[Via Crain’s and NYT]


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