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St. Pete voters approve expansion of The Dali Museum

The expansion would extend the city's waterfront, including a multi-level addition, on the southwest side of the building.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Garnering the majority of the votes on the Nov. 8 ballot, voters in St. Petersburg passed the referendum to approve the expansion of The Dali Museum, unofficial results show.

The expansion proposal includes a multi-level addition on the southwest side of the existing building, according to a city council agenda. More than 75,000 voters in St. Petersburg said "yes" to the referendum, while nearly 21,000 votes were against the expansion. 

Plans for the new addition include space for education, conferences, events, galleries and a restaurant and terrace that looks out on the downtown yacht basin.

A referendum to change the museum's current 99-year lease was required due to the strip of waterfront property the museum was looking to expand on — which is controlled by the city.

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While The Dali Museum likely celebrates this win, there are fears that the construction of the expansion could impact the Mahaffey Theater, which shares the waterfront property known as the Duke Energy Center for the Arts with the museum. Concerns include parking and theater access. 

The city council agenda also suggests that construction could unexpectedly cause a loss of power that could force the cancellation of a show at the Mahaffey Theater and lead to a loss in ticket revenue. 

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However, as a workaround, the expansion plan for the Dali must allow the Mahaffey Theater to continue operating regularly before, during and after the construction.

There were also worries that the expansion could impact the Grand Prix that is held each year around the Center for Arts. Portions of the property leased by the museum are used for the Grand Prix operations, and the construction of a new addition could affect these operations.

So in order for the amended lease to be approved, the city says the Grand Prix race cannot be impacted in any way before, during and after construction. 

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