The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach California took an important step towards creating its newest attraction, Pacific Visions, on Tuesday night. The city council approved the remaining $10.7 million of a challenge grant to be paid to the aquarium over the next 10 years.
Originally approved in 2013, the grant was intended to be paid out in annual installments of $1.5 million out of the city’s Tidelands Fund. This was effected by the drop in the oil price. Since the grant was made the cost of barrel of crude oil has fallen from $90 per barrel to $50. The city had paid out $4.3 million of the $15 million grant to date. Tuesday’s decsion will pay out the remainder over a restructured time table ending in 2025.
The funding is for the Aquarium of the Pacific’s planned Pacific Visions project. This will be a 29, 000-square-foot addition to the existing aquarium buildings at Long Beach.
The new structure will include a two-story immersive theatre with a 130 by 32-foot-tall screen. The theatre will boast a retractable floor. The estimated cost was in the region of $53 million. $40 million of this was in place by March.
The aquarium attracted over 1.7 million visitors this year. It is hoped that the expansion will help it drive this number still higher to two million.
“It will be the most powerful platform in the world outside of the military that allows the public to explore alternative pathways to the future and determine how our actions collectively will determine the future that we actually have, ” said Dr. Jerry R. Schubel, president and CEO of the aquarium.
The aquarium brings in approximately $60 million a year to the Long Beach area.
Pacific Visions is expected to open in 2018.
Image: A rendering of the proposed Pacific Visions project. Courtesy of EHDD