Clearwater Marine Aquarium: New location plans

12:04 PM, Mar 7, 2014   |    comments
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Clearwater, Florida -- Clearwater Marine Aquarium will unveil a study Friday morning about its big new facility planned for Downtown Clearwater.

The study looks into whether it's smart and realistic to build a new $100 million aquarium and home for Winter the Dolphin.

The new CMA facility would open in 2017 on a prime piece of land downtown, where Clearwater City Hall sits now.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium has hired a globally known consulting company called AECOM to look realistically at:

- How many people would come to a new aquarium,
- How big it should be,
- What its target audience looks like,
- And how much they should charge for a ticket.

Plus, AECOM will try to predict the impact of Dolphin Tale 2, Winter's second movie, which comes out this fall.

The only study that's been done so far came out a year and a half ago and focused on the impact of the two Dolphin Tale movies.

It predicted Clearwater Marine Aquarium would become the most popular aquarium in the world with more than two million visitors a year.

But that study was based on some questionable math. The study we hear about Friday should be a lot more realistic.

Voters decided in November to give the land where City Hall sits now to Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

But the aquarium needs to raise all of the money for the new building by August 2016, or the land stays with the city and the expansion project will fall apart.

Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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