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90,000-square-foot expansion of Museum of Play begins

The Strong Museum of Play broke ground on a 90,000-square-foot expansion Wednesday. CEO and President Steve Dubnik said the new wing will feature the museum’s biggest exhibit yet: ESL Federal Credit Union Digital Worlds. 

Dubnik said it's expected to be home to the World Video Game Hall of Fame, an outdoor play exhibit, a new atrium, and admissions area. All told, he said the museum will eventually be 375,000 square feet. The museum is expected to stay open while under construction.

“This will be an exhibit that tracks the history of those games, talks about how those games work, how those games are designed and put together and celebrate both the games and the individuals that help make the games,” said Dubnik.

It's part of an ambitious plan to more than double the roughly 550,000 visitors who come to the museum each year. A key element of the plan, said Dubnik, is what’s going up around it.

“When the city first announced they were filling in the inner loop, the land that was going to be created was adjacent to the museum,” said Dubnik. “We saw it as an opportunity to envision what our future could be with that.”

Dubnik said they partnered with Konar Properties and Indus Hospitality Group to develop a new Hampton Inn and Suites, 240 housing units, and 17,000 square feet of retail space. 

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He expects the new wing to be complete by late 2022 and open by summer 2023.

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.