Jeanne Claire Van Ryzin reports, in her Seeing Things blog , that AMOA has "postponed" their plans for the new building.
"Representatives of the museum and [Houston development firm ] Hines say the project is merely
postponed, not altogether canceled. But a spokesperson for Hines said
the company would not renew an option that expired Wednesday to
purchase half of the prime downtown lot which the museum has owned
since the early 1980s. The sale of the land to Hines probably would
have covered almost half of the $23 million needed to build the museum.
And now with no partner anteing up, that leaves the museum flat out of
luck — and money. The museum’s board has not decided whether to put the
land back on the market."
This is terrible news for a number of reasons. Obviously, it’s a huge
letdown for the visual arts community because the one museum in town
that claims to be the city’s museum will have to remain in their bank
lobby and that god awful carpet will still distract us from the art
they present. Austin has changed a lot in the last decade, has gotten
bigger, more cosmopolitan, yet AMOA still looks (and often acts) like a
museum in a city half its size. It’s kind of an embarrassment…
Furthermore, let us not forget that this is the third time that plans
to expand have been "postponed" for one reason or another. Chalk it up
to horrible timing if you want, but let’s remember that while AMOA has
scrapped plans three times now, Arthouse bought the building they are
currently housed in, moved there, and are still slated to begin their
fantastic renovations sometime this year during the same years. This
isn’t apples and oranges, it’s more like green apples and red apples.
The blow to AMOA’s credibility will probably be substantial and will
make their future attempts at expansion that much more difficult to
accomplish. You can only cry wolf so many times.