College Board Evicts a 70-Year-Old Sarasota Car Museum: Out in 30 Days
First, MotorBiscuit doesn’t get into politics. So we’ll stay away from the fallout over aspects tinged around this classic car story. Instead, we’ll focus on what’s happening to one Florida classic car museum. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently appointed new board members for New College, a small liberal arts state school. As a result, the members have decided to remove a classic car museum from its building to make way for an incoming sports facility for students.
And the museum was only given 30 days to vacate the 55,000-square-foot building, with over 150 cars and no warning. Sarasota Classic Car Museum must be out by the end of this month. The Florida Herald-Tribune calls the museum “a staple of the city’s fabric.” It is a nonprofit that now faces years of closure and millions of dollars to relocate.
Why is the Sarasota Classic Car Museum being evicted?
The museum is on property owned by New College. A new board appointed by DeSantis made the decision to remove the classic car museum from its location immediately.
The New College board decided that to attract more students since it is shedding many current students and teachers, it needs sports to help fill in. So it wants the building the museum has occupied for 70 years, before New College even existed, for sports-related activities. Thus, the reason for the eviction.
Over 30,000 visitors attend the museum and its events each year. Martin Godby, who owns and runs the museum, knows that a lease is no guarantee the museum can remain there forever. But Godby says, “You’re looking at one to two years to identify, renovate and move into a suitable structure,” he told the Herald-Tribune. “There’s lots of things to consider: negotiations, the scheduling and timing of construction crews and architects, and all that goes with that.” He added, “It’s a logistical nightmare.”
Has the Sarasota Classic Car Museum asked for more time?
The museum is waiting for a response but hasn’t heard back from New College’s board. Godby sounds reasonable and offers, “We’re ready for a conversation. We’re ready to choose a reasonable date, ready to be agreeable.” Honestly, he doesn’t have much of a choice.
Whether he is scrambling or not, it doesn’t seem like there have been many inroads into relocating the museum. Some of the cars are borrowed, with most being part of the museum’s permanent collection.
The college has no schedule for when it expects to do anything with the buildings or land but is still insisting on a June 30 deadline. New College responded to the Herald-Tribune’s request about the reason there is such a short notification for the museum’s eviction. The written statement only said it needs the buildings “due to the record growth of the incoming class.” What do you think about New College’s eviction and what is happening in Florida?