Update: On June 22 the Corcoran informed me that the numbers the institution originally provided MAN were incorrect. The post has been updated with the newly-provided monetization figure: $20.5 million.
The Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art and Design has confirmed to Modern Art Notes that it realized a previously unreported $20.5 million real estate-related gain late last year. Until now, the Corcoran had only announced the lease.
The payment came from the Corcoran’s monetization of the long-term ground lease it signed with Carr Properties for 1700 New York Ave. NW in late 2010. That’s the new address of the plot of land that had been previously earmarked for the Corcoran’s failed Frank Gehry-designed addition. [Image: Carr's rendering of the proposed 1700 New York Ave.]
Earlier this week the Corcoran board of trustees announced its plans to explore the possible sale of the institution’s landmark building on 17th Street NW. The board cited what it said was the building’s need for over $100 million in maintenance that it says is necessary to renovate the museum’s 1897 building and bring it up to “modern museum standards.” The Corcoran has not outlined what work needs to be done or why it would be so expensive. The Corcoran was re-accredited by the Association of Art Museums three years ago. In addition, last year the Corcoran finished a two-year restoration of the building’s facade and replaced the building’s roof. The project was funded by the National Park Service’s Save America’s Treasure program, the District of Columbia and by private donations.
The $20.5 million monetization came early in the Corcoran’s fiscal 2011, shortly after the museum booked a $7.2 million deficit in the preceding fiscal year. It is not clear whether the newly announced funds are (or were) earmarked for operating costs, for endowment, for facade-and-roof repair, or for another use.
Corcoran vice president for marketing and communications Kristin Guiter emailed MAN the confirmation after the close of business Thursday in response to a query I made on Tuesday morning. I emailed and called Guiter with the questions in the preceding paragraph this morning, but sometime between when I attempted to contact her with those questions and when this post is being published, Guiter resigned. After learning of Guiter’s resignation from this Kriston Capps report in the Washington CityPaper, I was unable to reach anyone else in the Corcoran’s press shop. I’ll update this post with information if and when it becomes available.