Originally published by Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

More than half the funds needed for Phase One of this three-phase, multi-million dollar project have been raised in the past year.

SARASOTA, Fla., Oct. 13, 2018 – Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (Selby Gardens), the world’s only botanical garden dedicated to the study, display and conservation of epiphytic plants, announces that $21.8 million in gifts, more than half of the funds needed to implement the first of the three-phase, multi-million-dollar master site plan has been secured. The fundraising campaign for this undertaking, Innovating a Greener Future- Living Inspiration for a Living Museum: The Campaign for Selby Gardens (The Campaign), will be led by Selby Gardens’ trustees, leadership donors and co-chairs Jean Weidner Goldstein, Cornelia Matson and Pauline Wamsler.

Pauline Wamsler, Vice Chair of the Selby Gardens Board of Trustees says, “I’m elated to co-lead this campaign as Selby Gardens embarks on this exciting new chapter in its history that will solidify Selby Gardens’ legacy as a world-class living museum.”

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Of the $42.5 million needed to implement the first phase of the master site plan, $21.8 million has been raised. The goal for funding the overall 10-year Master Plan is $92 million, with $72 million to be directed toward capital costs and the balance to be directed toward endowment and operational needs.

Cornelia Matson, a longtime supporter of Selby Gardens and Sarasota resident said, “Selby Gardens is a special place for our community and its importance in the greater world of plant conservation cannot be overstated. Continued support of this plan assures the Gardens will always exist as an oasis celebrating nature and contribute to the field of plant research.”

The three-phase master site plan will increase the botanical garden’s green space by 50 percent, protect Selby Gardens’ scientific collections, which are the best of its kind in the world, from future sea level rise and allow for expanded educational outreach. Furthermore, upon completion of the master plan, Selby Gardens will have the only botanical garden complex in the world boasting a Net Positive energy rating– meaning the buildings will generate more energy than they consume. The Net Positive Energy rating is awarded by the Living Building Challenge, a green building certification program and sustainable design framework administered by the International Living Futures Institute.

Selby Gardens will become a global model for horticultural display, botanical studies and green building technology, welcoming additional visitors to the more than 200,000 people that currently visit its property in downtown Sarasota, Florida each year.

Jean Weidner Goldstein, co-chair and lead donor said, “This campaign will elevate Selby Gardens at the international level and we are fortunate to have the gardens here in Sarasota where community members and visitors from around the world will be able to experience it.”

Contingent upon fundraising, zoning and permitting, the Gardens aims to break ground on the first phase in late 2019. The first phase of the master plan will create a new arrival experience for visitors with the Jean Goldstein Welcome Center, which will be adjacent to the Steinwachs Family Plant Research Center, a building that will house the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Herbarium and Laboratory and Nathalie McCulloch Research Library.

Another key element of phase one is the Sky Garden, a multi-story building that will include parking, retail space and a destination restaurant. The structure will be designed with extensive plantings that showcase what Selby Gardens’ researchers study and protect. The rooftop restaurant, to be certified as the world’s first Net Positive Restaurant, will be operated by another leadership donor, Michael’s on East. A significant percentage of the restaurant’s proceeds will benefit Selby Gardens. The restaurant will also make use of an adjacent edible garden and a 20,000-square-foot solar panel array, which will provide more than the expected power needs for the entirety of phase one. These building systems will provide educational lessons about water quality, green technology and solar power to visitors thanks to the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation.

A new greenhouse complex, a learning pavilion and improved, more intuitive, circuitous routes throughout the property round out the remaining phases of the plan. Palm Avenue will be converted to a pedestrian-only thoroughfare, showcasing the historic Augusta Block it is known for, which visitors will be able to admire safely with the improved layout.

Additionally, as Selby Gardens prepares for its sustainable future, the institution will responsibly preserve and steward the historical elements of the property including a significant renovation of the Selby House, a recent recipient of local historical designation, thanks to support from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation and improve the Payne Mansion, home to the Museum of Botany & the Arts since 1979, on the National Register of Historic Places, and in process to receive local historical designation.

“Our plans actively pursue the future in a sustainable manner,” Jennifer Rominiecki, president and chief executive officer said. “The cutting-edge, innovative green building design along with the improvements to the green space and “living buildings” will allow Selby Gardens to become a world-leader in energy efficiencies in public space while also being a garden for all to enjoy.”

The master site plan has been guided by the international landscape architecture studio OLIN, buildings architecture firm Overland Partners and civil engineers Kimley Horn. Willis Smith Construction was recently selected as the construction manager for the project.

FACT SHEET:

BRIEF HISTORY OF SELBY GARDENS

  • After the botanical garden was established in the early 1970s following Marie’s passing, the institution grew in small steps, purchasing property along Palm Avenue from nearby neighbors, including the historic Payne Mansion which is home to the Gardens’ Museum of Botany & the Arts
  • Marie and William Selby’s original property was just over five acres
  • In its more than 40 years of existence, Selby Gardens’ full 15 acres were never adapted for the infrastructure a botanical garden requires
  • The Gardens’ plan considers the long-term needs to protect the world’s best scientifically-documented collection of orchids and bromeliads, and also to accommodate the institution’s growth, which in the past two years has shown a 47% increase in admission, a 60% increase in membership, and a 59% increase in overall earned revenues thanks to a new Living Museum operating model

INNOVATING A GREENER FUTURE-LIVING INSPIRATION FOR A LIVING MUSEUM:

THE CAMPAIGN FOR SELBY GARDENS INFORMATION

Living Inspiration for plant research and conservation will do the following:

  • Illustrate how all life depends on plants
  • Provide a window into our once-hidden research facilities and laboratories
  • Spotlight the fascinating field work conducted by our scientists to catalog the earth’s biodiversity
  • Reveal more than 125,000 specialized collections of tropical flora in a new, larger herbarium; and nearly 30,000 specimens preserved in fluid, the second largest spirit collection in the world
  • Consolidate operational functions at the northeast corner of the property while providing 50% more green space
  • Safeguard the world’s best scientifically-documented collections of wild-collected orchids and bromeliads by keeping them out of harm’s way and protected by Category 5 hurricane resistant structures and sea-level rise

Living Inspiration for the Gardens will do the following:

  • Enhance strolling gardens and water features that simulate Florida’s terrain and abundant waterways
  • Highlight world-class living collections through light-filled glass houses
  • Exhibit dramatic plant displays in a dedicated greenhouse gallery
  • Provide views of Sarasota Bay throughout the Gardens

Living Inspiration for Learning

  • Create a new Learning Pavilion to engage more children and adults and make connections to nature
  • Provide visual clues that prompt curiosity about plants and the natural world
  • Teach concepts in green urban design
  • Expand school programs, family programs and allow for free play and scientific exploration
  • Allow for exhibition programs to explore Selby Gardens’ core mission and the links between nature and the arts, connecting the Museum of Botany & the Arts with the entire Gardens

THREE PHASES OF THE MASTER SITE PLAN
Phase One (I)

The first phase of the project, which entails nearly half of the work to be completed, includes the following:

  • Jean Goldstein Welcome Center, which will be adjacent to the Steinwachs Family Plant Research Center housing the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Herbarium and Laboratory and Nathalie McCulloch Research Library.
    • The Elaine Nicpon Marieb Herbarium and Laboratory will steward and display the institution’s renowned preserved plant collection that is referenced by botanists worldwide.
    • The Nathalie McCulloch Research Library will showcase an invaluable library collection that includes priceless, rare volumes and hand-colored botanical illustrations dating to the 1700s.
  • Included in the collection will be the newly-gifted and highly-regarded orchid collection of Carlyle A. Luer, a founder of Selby Gardens and noted orchidologist. Dr. Luer has described and illustrated more than 3,000 plants for science, leading his contemporary peers.
  • A Sky Garden will be as follows:
  • Allow the Gardens to double its capacity through the creation of a multi-story visitor services building that will include parking, retail space and a destination restaurant
  • Designed with extensive plantings that showcase the living plants Selby Gardens’ researchers study and protect.
  • Offer a rooftop restaurant that will be operated by Michael’s on East, a leadership contributor to the campaign, who will give a significant portion of the proceeds to Selby Gardens. The restaurant will be the first in the world to be a Certified Net Positive Energy Restaurant through the use of an adjacent edible garden and a 20,000-square-foot solar panel array, which will provide more than the expected power needs for the entirety of phase one
  • Designed with a rainwater harvesting system that will treat and store as much as 500,000 gallons of water to be used for irrigation and to improve the runoff treatment system leading to nearby Hudson Bayou
  • Provide educational lessons about water quality, green technology and solar power to visitors thanks to the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation
  • Provide a demonstration site for sustainable building technology, including solar energy; storm water collection and reuse; nature-based water purification; living walls and roofs; and urban food gardening

Conservation

  • Palm Avenue will be converted to a pedestrian-only thoroughfare, showcasing the historic Augusta Block it is known for, which visitors will be able to admire safely with the improved layout.
  • Structures that will be preserved are the Selby House, Payne Mansion and Carriage House and Bayfront event space – Michael’s on the Bay at Selby Gardens. With the removal of failing former residential buildings that house operations and consolidating parking, Selby Gardens will expand by 50 percent, the garden and open space

Phase Two (II) and Three (III)

A new greenhouse complex, Learning Pavilion and improved, more intuitive, circuitous routes throughout the property round out the plan.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • The plan for Selby Gardens has been guided by the international landscape architecture studio OLIN. The firm was contracted in late 2016 and worked with the Gardens’ board of trustees, an advisory committee and staff to reimagine the historical property of Marie Selby.

NET POSITIVE ENERGY RATINGS

  • Selby Gardens will be the world’s first in the following certified by the International Living Futures Institute (ILFI):
    • Certified Net Positive Energy Botanical Garden Complex
    • Certified Net Positive Energy Living Community
  • Certified Net Positive Energy Restaurant
  • Net Positive energy means that the buildings will generate more energy than they consume
  • The ILFI considers a “living community” as a community with a significant number of structures that meet their stringent certification process.
  • For more information on the ILFI please go to https://living-future.org/contact-us/faq/

The original story can be found here.

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