Mote SEA Milestones
- Jan 1, 2017
Guiding Growth in Marine Science and Education
Guided by its 2020 Vision & Strategic Plan, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium commissions feasibility studies to guide the institution’s growth in marine science and education and increase its benefit to communities and the region’s economy. Feasibility studies suggest significant benefits of a rebirth of Mote Aquarium at a new site in Sarasota County, which in turn, will free space for much-needed growth of Mote’s research enterprise at its primary campus on City Island, Sarasota.
Mote leaders examine multiple potential Aquarium sites and form a New Aquarium Oversight Committee with Board of Trustees members to help Mote’s President & CEO with key steps in the planning process.
Mote leaders redouble their efforts to meet with key community leaders throughout Sarasota County, commission financial feasibility analyses by Schultz & Williams and hold numerous planning sessions with CambridgeSeven, the architectural firm selected with the Oversight Committee’s assistance.
- Feb 8, 2018
Mote Science Education Aquarium Announcement
Feb. 8, 2018: Mote President & CEO Dr. Michael P. Crosby announces that the spectacular new Mote Science Education Aquarium is being planned for Nathan Benderson Park, a nexus site for the Sarasota-Manatee region and southwest Florida. This rebirth of Mote Aquarium in a new home will share science and ocean literacy with a much wider audience while freeing space for Mote’s primary research campus on City Island, Sarasota, to evolve into an International Marine Science, Technology & Innovation Park.
With this announcement, Mote unveils the $130-million fundraising campaign to create Mote SEA through a combination of philanthropic, corporate and public support: Oceans for All: Improving Access to Marine Science & Technology.
- Jul 1, 2018
Continuing Meetings to Secure Land
Mote continues productive meetings with Sarasota County with the goal of securing county-owned land in Nathan Benderson Park for Mote SEA.
Mote offers a new opportunity for donors to become SEA Explorers, members of an exclusive group of no more than 100 visionary philanthropic leaders who together will contribute the next $25,000,000 in pace-setting contributions to Oceans for All, each pledging $250,000 for Mote SEA design and site development.
- Oct 24, 2018
County Commission Unanimously Approves Mote SEA
The Sarasota County Commission unanimously approves a significant step forward in establishing a new Mote Science Education Aquarium (Mote SEA): a term sheet developed by Mote and Sarasota County staff, which provides a path to formalize a full lease and conveyance agreement.
- Oct 27, 2018
First SEA Explorers Announcement
During Mote’s annual Oceanic Evening event, Mote President & CEO Dr. Michael P. Crosby announces the first group of SEA Explorers, visionary supporters who have donated or pledged $250,000 or more toward creation of Mote SEA: Hobart and Janis Swan; Bob and Anne Essner; Elizabeth Moore; Ellen Hanson and Richard Perlman; and The Benderson Family.
- Jan 30, 2019
Sarasota County Commission Approval
The Sarasota County Commission unanimously approves an agreement for Mote’s use of county-owned land in Nathan Benderson Park for the site of its planned new Science Education Aquarium. The “omnibus” agreement includes a two-year lease, during which Mote will pursue normal, due-diligence steps and seek zoning approval for ultimate sale of the land. If this does not happen within the short-term lease, the agreement calls for a long-term lease of 90 years.
- Mar 1, 2019
$30 Million Raised
Mote’s campaign to create Mote SEA, Oceans for All, reaches $30 million raised or pledged toward its $130-million goal.
- May 16, 2019
Construction Management Team Announcement
After an intensive selection process, Mote announces the construction management team for Mote Science Education Aquarium: local construction management company Willis A. Smith Construction, Inc., and international firm The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.
- Jul 1, 2019
Mote staff, along with locally based land-use consultants, civil engineers and geotechnical engineers, spend the summer working through all the normal due diligence work associated with a project of this size and complexity. These include soil testing at the site, survey work, parking and traffic flow analysis and land use rights and easements.
- Jul 7, 2019
Schematic Design Phase Complete
The schematic design phase of the project is completed. Mote staff, construction contractors and owners reps begin reviewing the designs.