In the mid 1990’s Coral Gables Commissioner
Wayne “Chip” Withers began conversations
regarding the possibility of integrating
a new museum into the City of Coral
Gables. From initial living room chats
with a group of artists, architects
and cultural insiders, a dream began
to take shape. Withers found that there
was substantial interest in the idea.
The Coral Gables Community Foundation
volunteered as the fiscal agent for
initial funds that were pledged for
the museum. Eventually the city government
as a whole became involved and a plan
was formulated to house the museum
in the historic 1939 Police and Fire
Station. Subsequent to the police and
fire departments vacating the building
and moving to their new location in
the 1970’s, the building was used for
city offices that were to be re-located,
and the beautiful old structure, deeply
in need of restoration, seemed to be
the perfect location for the cultural
In 2003, the non-profit Coral
Gables Museum Corp. was formed to direct
and operate the museum in partnership
with the City of Coral Gables. The
City’s Historical Resources Department
applied for and received over $1.5
million in state and county grants
to rehabilitate the building. In 2005,
the Museum Corp. began to raise additional
funds, and through the grant funding,
the architectural firm of Jorge L.
Hernandez was hired for the project.
Eventually, the Museum Corp. determined
that additional space would be necessary
to make the museum a viable institution.
The City agreed, and a new and separate
3000 square foot gallery space was
designed, in addition to a beautiful
5000 square foot public plaza, both
of which will be located in the surface
parking lot currently behind the Old
Police and Fire Station.
2007 was a
very productive year for the Museum:
the City of Coral Gables and the Coral
Gables Museum Corp. executed an agreement
whereby the City would be responsible
for the restoration and rehabilitation
of the original structure and the Museum
Corp. would be responsible for funding
the new construction; the Museum Corp.
hired their first employee and the
Community Foundation was relieved of
their fiscal duties, and a Mission
Statement was approved.
In 2008, the
construction costs became fully funded and work began in earnest on the project. Dooley Mack Constructors managed the 1.5 year construction project working with a variety of specialized tradesmen and artisans to restore the beautiful 1939 building and construct the Fewell Wing.
The topping off celebration was held in November of 2009. The Certificate of Occupancy was issued in early 2011. The building and all initial exhibits are now open to the public.
Initial conversations regarding
a Coral Gables Museum take place.
Coral Gables Museum Corp. is
formed to direct and operate
Grant funds are received to
restore and rehabilitate the
Old Police and Fire Station.
Jorge L. Hernandez Architects
Additional plans are drawn
for a new gallery space and public
City of Coral Gables and the
Coral Gables Museum Corp. execute
Construction begins under the management of DooleyMack Constructors.
Certificate of Occupancy issued. Building open to the public.
The Museum's inaugural exhibits are lauched and open to the public.