An East Valley developer and the Heard Museum are discussing the possibility of housing a satellite museum in the planned Gilbert Esplanade development.
The Heard, a renowned Phoenix museum founded in 1929 to celebrate southwest and Native American history, has a north branch in Scottsdale, and a west branch in Surprise.
Gilbert officials said they are thrilled at the prospect of hosting a satellite of the popular museum at the Esplanade or any location in town.
“It would be a beautiful addition to our community,” Town Councilwoman Joan Krueger said. “And I think this would be beneficial to the Heard in terms of the kind of patronage we could offer.”
The Esplanade would offer the kind of location Krueger said a museum board member told her they were seeking — quick access off the Santan Freeway.
“I’d like to think it’s very realistic,” Krueger said.
Lea Gilardi, a museum spokeswoman, said the discussions were exploratory and too early for museum officials to comment.
A noontime meeting scheduled Wednesday at the museum will bring together the Town Council and museum officials to discuss the proposal.
Gilbert Esplanade is a 150-acre development on the northeast corner of the Santan Freeway and Gilbert Road, planned by DeRito Partners Development Inc. and Kimco Developers Inc. The development will include upscale offices, furniture retailers including a Robb and Stucky, and an upscale but not yet named hotel, developer Marty DeRito said.
“I believe the Heard Museum, because of its prestige around the world as far as a museum, would be a benefit to any project,” DeRito said Monday. “We’re trying to make the Gilbert Esplanade, the retail and the office, to be a classy location.”
DeRito, who is a member and self-professed fan of the museum, said he has been pursuing a satellite museum for a year.
Mayor Steve Berman said the town’s high income and high education level would make it a prime spot for a museum. He said he understood the proposed satellite would be about 10,000 square feet, but like other satellite branches could include rotating art and special exhibits.
“We’re just an upscale community, a very educated community,” Berman said. “The kind of community that would visit something like this.”
For more information about the museum, visit www.heard.org.