Smithsonian seeks partner to save Mall landmark

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The Smithsonian Institution has accelerated its search for a public or private partner to redevelop its landmark Arts and Industries Building, which has been closed to the public for three years since pieces of the roof began collapsing.

The museum "does not have funding now or in the foreseeable future to rehabilitate" the 126-year-old building, the Smithsonian's facilities director, William W. Brubaker, said in a briefing paper sent to Congress.

The alternative is to find a partner to "redevelop and operate the building under a long-term lease, and thereby return this important building to productive use," according to the document.

The ornate brick exhibition hall is the second-oldest building on the Mall, after the Smithsonian Castle. Last year the National Trust for Historic Preservation declared it an endangered historic place and called it "an empty relic."

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