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Home for art may go condo

November 10, 2005|Mike Boehm

The Orange County Museum of Art is exploring whether a new museum topped by a condominium high-rise will fly with Costa Mesa officials.

The idea, submitted to the city's planning department this week, calls for relocating the modern and contemporary art institution from its longtime Newport Beach home to a parcel that shopping center magnate Henry T. Segerstrom donated to the Orange County Performing Arts Center for a new concert hall due to open next fall. The center, which has long wanted a visual arts neighbor, filed the proposal on the museum's behalf.

OCMA's size would increase almost fivefold under the plan, to 140,000 square feet, and the 80 condos above the museum would generate revenue for its construction and operation.

Museum director Dennis Szakacs said that OCMA's board is investing $2 million to plan its growth initiative, with a recently hired consultant, Lord Cultural Resources Planning and Management, advising on ways to proceed. Claire Flynn, a senior planner for Costa Mesa, said the museum plan will be part of city officials' broader deliberations on several high-rise residential projects.

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-- Mike Boehm

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