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Costa Mesa Planning Commission to review plans for new Orange County Museum of Art location

A rendering shows the outdoor staircase joining the Orange County Museum of Art’s planned building in Costa Mesa with the Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ Julianne and George Argyros Plaza.
(Courtesy of Morphosis Architects)

A long-awaited new home for the Orange County Museum of Art in Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts could move closer to reality Monday, when city planning commissioners review a proposed master plan for the facility.

As envisioned, the new museum would be 53,875 square feet and located next to the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. A 10,000-square-foot expansion also is planned at some point down the line, according to the master plan.

The building would include permanent and special exhibit space, a glass-fronted exhibition corridor facing a walkway along Avenue of the Arts, a cafe, museum shop and a landscaped outdoor terrace.

Designed by architect Thom Mayne and his firm, Morphosis, the structure would more than double the exhibition capacity of OCMA’s longtime home at 850 San Clemente Drive in Newport Beach — which closed in June.


“As a museum dedicated to art of the 20th and 21st century, our exhibitions will be able to span the major developments” of both modern and contemporary art, OCMA Director and Chief Executive Todd Smith wrote in a letter to the city.

“Our ability to host major international traveling exhibitions will position OCMA as the venue between LA and San Diego to experience and enjoy masterpieces from the last 125 years of art history,” he continued. “We will be able to tell the story of [20th and 21st] century art, design and architecture in new and exciting ways.”

The new museum is expected to be completed in 2021. In the meantime, OCMA is operating out of a temporary space at South Coast Plaza Village in Santa Ana.

OCMA originally planned to sell its Newport Beach property to Related California — a developer that proposed building a 25-story, 100-unit condominium tower called Museum House on the site — and use those proceeds to help pay its relocation costs. Previous estimates have placed the price tag of the new museum in the neighborhood of $50 million.


However, the Newport Beach City Council revoked its approval of the project in February 2017 rather than face a public referendum challenging the development. OCMA later agreed to sell the property and an adjoining parcel to Vivante Newport Center LLC, a subsidiary of Nexus Development Corp.

Monday’s Costa Mesa Planning Commission meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Costa Mesa Senior Center, 695 W. 19th St.

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