Wolfsonian-FIU looking to expand with lease of two Lenox Avenue properties

A 2008 file photo of the Wolfsonian-FIU museum in South Beach.
A 2008 file photo of the Wolfsonian-FIU museum in South Beach. © 2008 Silvia Ros All Rights Res

The Wolfsonian-FIU museum is looking to lease two Miami Beach properties it owns to help expand museum programs.

According to release from Coral Gables consulting firm Foundry Commercial, the museum is looking to lease a four-story 28,000-square-foot Mediterranean revival-style facility at 1538 Lenox Avenue and a surface lot with 34 spaces at 1500 Lenox Avenue. Both are located about a mile from the museum.

The “annex” building at 1538 Lenox is valued at $3.5 million, according to the Miami-Dade County property appraiser, includes stucco-faced concrete block with original ornamentation and can be developed as a commercial space, such as office space or retail. The surface lot, valued at $3.4 million, can be used as is or developed into a parking garage.

Both properties were acquired in 1986 by art collector Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. and were then renovated as exhibition space and a collection storage facility for The Wolfsonian, a museum of decorative and propaganda arts located on South Beach. In 2004 they were acquired by a state of Florida entity that holds land designated for public use. That year, Miami-Dade County voters approved a $10 million bond program for the museum to increase public access to its collection.

The revenue from the leases will support the Wolfsonian’s five-year master plan, which began last year calls for added accessibility, visibility and exposure to the museum collection and enhance educational programming. The revenue will also go into a museum expansion. Details have not yet been announced.

Open houses for the properties will be held next week.

The Wolfsonian’s plan is the latest in a string of announcements by other area museums that have announced opening dates, expansion plans or completed renovations.

Miami Beach contemporary art museum The Bass announced this month that it plans to open in October after a $12 million expansion. The Institute of Contemporary Art — Miami announced early this year that it plans a fall opening.

And the long-awaited opening of the $305 million Frost Museum of Science is set for May 8.