Dali Museum expansion plan includes $17.5M tourism tax dollars

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An unparalleled collection of Salvador Dali’s work has long been featured in St. Petersburg, Florida for years.

Now the museum is asking Pinellas County taxpayers for help expanding its blueprint.

The $38 million plan would transform the parking lot of the Dali Museum into a multilevel structure which would house digital interactions and more parking. It would expand upon a collection of work that's as impressive as the building it sits in.

“It is the most important collection of one of the most famous artists of the 20th century,” said Hank Hine, the museum’s director.

He says of the $38 million, the museum is asking the county for $17.5 million tourism tax dollars. The rest would be raised through private donations.

Following the 2011 opening of its current hurricane-proof facility, the museum has become a downtown St. Pete destination, boosting the city's profile internationally while generating hundreds of millions of dollars for the area. Hine says the expansion will bring even more.

“The more people who come, the more our community prospers,” Hine said.

The new building would serve as a parking garage, which they desperately need, and will also bring interactive galleries, a Dali IMAX, and hologram experience.

“Dali himself will welcome the visitor and tell each visitor about his work,” Hine said.

Pinellas County’s Tourism Development Council will take up the issue as to whether the museum should receive public money for the project.  No timeline has been set.