The Strong Museum of Play will receive $20 million in state funds to support its $60 million expansion project. Funding for the project is provided through a a Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative Grant.
The expansion is expected to be completed in 2020. It includes the construction of a new downtown parking garage and 40 new jobs, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said.
The Strong museum’s expansion plan is just one part of a massive, three-phase, $108 million development project that will feature a national chain-branded, family friendly hotel adjacent to the museum; the construction of residential housing and other mixed-use space; and the creation of a new, dedicated road connecting Woodbury Boulevard to Union Street.
The Strong also plans to add a 100,000 square-foot wing onto its existing facility, which will become the home of the World Video Game Hall of Fame. The addition will provide visitors with a unique and immersive video gaming environment experience that celebrates the history and cultural impact of video games.
“The Strong’s planned expansion—which market research shows can draw an additional 400,000 guests per year to the region and put the museum’s attendance near 1 million annually—will be the cornerstone of the Neighborhood of Play, a vibrant place to live, work and play,” said Steve Dubnik, CEO of the Strong.
Funding for the mixed-use development project will come through both government and private investment. In addition to the $20 million in URI funding, Indus Hospitality Group will invest more than $21 million to construct a 100-room hotel in the city’s east end.
Konar Properties will invest approximately $30 million to fund the development of 240 rental townhomes and apartments, as well as 18,000 square-feet of retail and restaurant space on the parcel. The total cost of the museum’s expansion and the construction of the garage is estimated at $60 million.
The 11.2-acre project area includes four acres of the former Inner Loop roadway which was filled in to make room for this development. It also includes the construction and dedication of a new road connecting Woodbury Boulevard, Manhattan Square Drive, and Savannah Street to the new Union Street. The new road will break up the existing 22-acre block on the site, and will become a focal point of walkable, and bikeable new neighborhood.
“Tourism is critical to driving the Finger Lakes economy, and the Strong Museum is a key attraction for the entire region,” Cuomo said. “With these upgrades, this project will help to build economic momentum, attracting visitors from across the globe and fostering regional prosperity for generations to come.”