By Rachel Lippmann
St. Louis Public Radio – The stabilizing economy is allowing the St. Louis Art Museum to once again green light its expansion plans.
The Museum's board voted last night to continue the $130 million, 200,000 square foot project it halted last year due to the economic downturn.
Museum president Brent Benjamin said the delay allowed museum staff to make sure all donors could keep their financial pledges.
"A second piece is that things have stabilized, particularly in the debt markets, and so the interest rates are at a 45-year-low," he said.
The additional exhibit space will allow visitors to see more of the Museum's expansive collection, Benjamin said.
"In our storage rooms are paintings by people like Matisse, and Picasso and Renoir. And this is true of every part of the collection, but particularly it's true of the 20th century, where both in the pre-war years and the post-war years there are just spectacular things that there isn't space to show," said Benjamin.
The project also includes a 300-car underground garage. It should be completed in late 2012 or early 2013.