Izzi Bendall reports in dbusiness on the $26 million penguin exhibit set to break ground at the Detroit Zoo:
“‘(The event) marks the beginning of an 18-month construction period on the largest project the Detroit Zoo has ever undertaken,’ says Patricia Mills Janeway, spokeswoman for the Detroit Zoological Society. She adds that the zoo will announce the general contractor for the project at that time. The date of the official groundbreaking for the penguin complex is expected to be announced soon.
“The new exhibit — which will be located on 2.1 acres near the zoo’s entrance — is expected to increase the zoo’s annual attendance by at least 100,000 visitors while boosting its regional economic impact by several million dollars per year. In 2013, more than 1.3 million people visited the Detroit Zoo, which had a regional economic impact of $100.2 million last year, according to CSL International, an advisory and planning firm with offices in Dallas and Minneapolis.
“Janeway attributes the expected jump in attendance to the sheer size and significance of the conservation center. ‘The penguin ‘deep dive’ — one of the attraction’s most dramatic features — will offer views above and below water as the penguins dive and soar through a chilled 326,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area,’ she says. ‘That feature, deeper and larger than the pool at our Arctic Ring of Life (the facility’s polar bear exhibit), will allow visitors to see penguins deep-water dive — something that cannot be seen anywhere else, even in nature,’ she says.
“Since the zoo last released details regarding the new exhibit — which will highlight the significant effect of global climate change — there have been a few updates to the plan, Janeway says. Square footage was bumped up from 24,000 to 28,000 square feet, and the deep-dive pool has increased from 310,000 to 326,000 gallons. As such, the total cost has increased from $21 million to $26 million.”