Fundraising For Questplex Back On, Construction to Start in Spring


By Ashley Thompson

Last fall, Montgomery City officials kicked off a fundraising campaign for Questplex, the 22.5 million dollar museum and library slated to open downtown. 

Questplex is a 22.5 million dollar project, similar to the McWane Center in Birmingham but with more technology. Here's how the city is financing it: 12 million will come from a master lease, five million from a new market tax credit, and the remaining 5.5 million from donations. Of the money needed in donations, Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange says about 2 million has come in.

"We're about two million dollars into the fundraising," he explains. "There's about a million and a half asked that we're waiting to hear back from, we're fixing to make a big ask for another half a million dollars."

Construction was supposed to begin back in the fall of 2013 but delay was caused by the new market tax credits closing, which in turned delayed fundraising. The city just got the tax credits extended through March of 2014 and fundraising has re-started.

"If everything that we've asked comes in, we'd be right at the four million dollar number, which would be plenty for us to go ahead and start the project," says Strange.

And there are many who would like to see the project started. Drue Fortune owns The Commerce Street Soda Shop and says he's looking forward to construction beginning, saying he thinks it will help his own business.

"I don't believe there's going to be too much food in there so hopefully I'll be able to pull some of that business down this way."

The facility is billed to be a one-of-a-kind education center, one that will attract people from all over the Southeast. Yi Lee, who's visiting from Georgia, says he would come back when it's open.

"As long as it brings out the historical character of the city and compliments anything that's here, I think it will be great."

Strange says the goal is to finish the project in less than 15 months.

"If we start the construction in the April time frame, probably a 12 or 15 month, so the summer of 15 would be the time frame where we would have a grand opening."

Even if all private donations are not in, the mayor says construction can still start in April because he says donations will roll in on a three year pledge basis.



Construction was supposed to start last September, so what's the hold up?

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Jay Croft said on Saturday, Jan 11 at 3:52 PM

What about finishing the police station in Montgomery Mall and starting your latest idea for garbage handling, Mr. Mayor?

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