Gilbane Building Company has been selected by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as the Construction Manager at Risk, charged with planning and supervising construction of the museum’s upcoming renovation and expansion project, which includes the James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Wing II, the largest expansion in its history.

At this time, VMFA is awarding a contract to Gilbane to perform preconstruction services. A separate contract for the construction work phase remains contingent upon the parties reaching agreement on certain terms later in the process.

“Gilbane has proven experience managing major, state-of-the-art museum construction projects, making them an ideal choice for supervising the expansion and renovations launched by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “Our shared values of innovation, sustainability, inclusion and collaboration are fundamental to the museum’s project. We are thrilled to have Gilbane on board.”

Gilbane, one of the top construction companies in the United States, will be responsible for coordinating and supervising the construction of the museum’s new, additional wing and renovations to existing spaces, including VMFA’s Leslie Cheek Theater.

As a Construction Manager at Risk, Gilbane will work alongside VMFA and the design team during the design and preconstruction process to help evaluate costs, provide value management options and determine constructability, as well as serve as the general contractor during building construction. The goal of working with the Construction Manager at Risk model is to reduce time, money and effort by developing the most cost-effective and feasible building design before construction begins.

The company has a track record in Richmond, Virginia, building, renovating and restoring arts and culture institutions throughout the city, including iconic projects such as the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Contemporary Art, Richmond CenterStage, Landmark Theater, Altria Theater Renovation and Carpenter Center Theaters. Nationally, Gilbane has managed expansion and construction projects at several museums, including the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, Cleveland Museum of Art, Corning Museum of Glass, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and The Norton Museum of Art.

“Gilbane is incredibly honored to renovate and expand this jewel of a museum,” said Margaret Reed, Gilbane Building Company’s Richmond Business Leader. “We are excited to work with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and international firm SmithGroup to deliver this extraordinary cultural project. Gilbane looks forward to driving economic inclusion and building community through this project, while we work with our partners to expand Richmond’s rich arts and cultural history.”

VMFA began its transformative expansion and renovation project, led by the international architecture and engineering firm SmithGroup, in June 2021. Tentatively scheduled for completion in 2027, the project consists of adding the new James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Wing II of nearly 170,000 square feet and renovating 45,000 square feet of existing spaces, while maintaining four acres of green space in the E. Claiborne and Lora Robins Sculpture Garden.

The project will enable visitors to experience a seamless journey through the collections in VMFA’s new wing, which will house contemporary art, African art, American art, a new suite of galleries for rotating special exhibitions and a special events space. The expansion and renovation will also enable the museum to display more art, welcome more visitors and provide more enjoyment.

“We value Gilbane’s spirit of ingenuity, technical expertise and pragmatic oversight,” said Michael R. Taylor, VMFA’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Art and Education, who is the Project Director for the expansion and renovation project. “We look forward to collaborating with them to realize this new, transformative vision for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.”

VMFA’s expansion and renovations will be informed by Virginians. Since kicking off the project, the museum has been actively engaging participants throughout the Commonwealth to better understand the visitor experience and learn more about the public’s vision for the future of the institution.

The design process will be complete, and final architectural renderings are anticipated, in winter 2023. The museum’s campus will then be prepared for construction, which is tentatively expected to begin in fall 2024. VMFA will remain open to visitors during construction. Learn more about VMFA’s expansion and renovation project and get project updates at