ST. LOUIS, Feb. 28, 2019—The St. Louis Art Museum Foundation this month made the final payment on debt related to the construction of the museum’s David Chipperfield-designed East Building, which opened in 2013.
The expansion was funded through a $160 million fundraising initiative that remains the most successful fundraising campaign for a St. Louis cultural institution. The final payment of $9.6 million retired the last remaining bond debt 31 years ahead of schedule.
Factors contributing to the early payoff included historically low short-term interest rates and the success of the fundraising campaign, which raised $15 million more than its goal. Additionally, a disciplined approach to operations has maintained a strong financial position for the museum. In September, Standard & Poor’s affirmed the museum’s AA- issuer credit rating and, in 2017, Moody’s upgraded the Museum’s bond rating to Aa2 from Aa3.
Retiring the debt early has been an institutional priority since 2009, when $46.2 million in bonds were issued in connection with the expansion, said John R. Musgrave, president of the museum’s board of commissioners and vice president of the St. Louis Art Museum Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports the mission and activities of the museum.
“From the beginning of the expansion project, the board leadership of the Saint Louis Art Museum was determined to pay off construction-related debt early,” Musgrave said. “We have stuck with that aggressive plan, and I am happy to say we are once again debt free.”
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