RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – We're counting down to the grand re-opening of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The $150 million, four-year expansion project wraps up this week.
The museum is projected to have a huge impact on the region. Businesses in Carytown are rolling out the red carpet. Banners announcing the Virginia Museum of Fine Art's re-opening are flying up and down Cary.
Fan District restaurant Strawberry Street Café hired a chalk artist to replicate famous Louis Comfort Tiffany works. Tiffany is the first major show to headline at the museum this spring.
"I want to see it open. I want to see some more traffic on the Boulevard which generates more customers for us," said Ron Joseph, Strawberry Street Café Owner.
According to an economic impact study the museum could see, 450,000 visitors a year and could generate $500,000 in local sales tax revenues. Visitors to the museum and its expanded operations are expected to generate $36 million annually around the state.
Bob Tarren is the marketing manager for the museum and said, "We fully expect people to come up and down the east coast to Richmond. The obvious trickle down is that people are going to be spending money around the museum, as well as inside the museum."
Joseph decorated his restaurant for the play Wicked's run at the Landmark and says he was packed every night for three weeks.
"I had Wicked drinks, martinis named after some of the characters, and we're doing the same thing the museum," said Joseph.
Bob Broomfield is the President of the Carytown Merchants Association. He says businesses in Richmond have to work together to keep this city a destination on the map.
"Being able to drive the people from the business area to the museum and from the museum back to the business area that's going to be the key," he said.
The grand opening of the James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Wing is this weekend. It's open on Saturday from 10 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from 10 to 5.
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