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Dia Art Foundation Planning new Manhattan Gallery

The Dia Art Foundation, a New York-based non-profit for contemporary art founded in 1974, has announced plans to build a $35 million gallery space in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, adjacent to the Highline, an abandoned elevated railway that is being converted into a park.

The proposed site, which is now in public review, was a former a meatpacking plant. It would be demolished to make room for the new building, which would feature 45,000 square feet of naturally-lit exhibition space on two floors.

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Dia: Chelsea, a converted warehouse, opened in 1987 and closed in 2004 for renovations. Its future is unclear, as its that of Dia’s other Chelsea gallery. According to Dia spokesperson Sarah Thompson, Dia: Chelsea has been problematic as an exhibition space. “When we looked at how much money it was going to take to get it up and running, the size of the gallery was going to shrink.”

Dia president Michael Govan announced that, “We would like to provide a cultural anchor with this innovative public space. It’s perfect for Dia – we would have two large light-filled museums on the Hudson, one in Beacon for the collection and one in Manhattan for more contemporary exhibitions.”

In addition to $35 million in construction costs, the project will also require an estimated $20 million for program endowments. Dia hasn’t yet selected an architectural team. The Foundation hopes to open its new space in 2007, in time for the completion of High Line’s first phase.

Dia also has a permanent collection at the mammoth 300,000 square feet Dia: Beacon in upstate New York, as well as other projects scattered throughout the United States.

By Ilan Kayatsky

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