Sarasota News Leader

12/27/2013

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G.WIZ, WHAT A LOSS G.WIZ remains closed on the bayfront. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE BUILDING OF THE FUTURE IS A THING OF THE PAST — UNLESS THE CITY CAN FIND ANOTHER LESSEE By Stan Zimmerman City Editor Use your imagination. What if the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall really is an alien spaceship? And what if one day earlier this year, it beamed an abduction ray into its nearby neighbor — the Gulfcoast Wonder and Imagination Zone (also known by its acronym, G.WIZ) — and kidnapped all the people inside. The City of Sarasota's purchasing department has been putting together an "Invitation to Negotiate" with another tenant. It almost certainly will be some kind of cultural amenity. The city's plans allow for a contemporary art museum, a modern art museum, expansion of the nearby Art Center Sarasota or the county's history center, or a maritime museum, The thought could cross your mind, because film center or maritime education or cultural when G.WIZ abandoned the city-owned buildinstitution on the site. ing, they simply got up and left. Very little went with them. Now the building — once a Mecca "There is a lot of interest," said Purchasing for school field trips and doting grandparents Department Director Mary Tucker. "But there — sits silent. After 22 years, G.WIZ is no more. is a lot of work to be done."

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