A subcommittee of the Norwalk Common Council has endorsed a settlement agreement under which the state of Connecticut would pay The Maritime Aquarium $34.5 million to replace its popular IMAX Theater.
Under the agreement, the state Department of Transportation would pay the aquarium to replace the theater and lost exhibit space due to the upcoming replacement of the Walk Bridge over the Norwalk River, according to news reports.
The legal settlement covers replacement of the aquarium’s 20,000-gallon seal tank with a 150,000-gallon tank that meets modern standards and guidelines.
According to this report by The Hour, the bridge replacement project, which the DOT expects to begin next year, will require the razing of the theater, the seal tank, an annex building with animal exhibits, and the deck and dock from which the aquarium research vessel “Spirit of the Sound” operates.
The aquarium’s replacement plan calls for building a two-story, 11,939-square-foot addition east of the existing main entrance. The addition would house a 4-D, 178-seat theater, entrance lobby, ticket area and other space.
The aquarium also plans to build a two-story, 8,748-square-foot addition on the east side of the existing building to house the aquarium’s seals.
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