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A Tampa developer will lead Florida Aquarium's expansion campaign after a record attendance year

Professional photograph of Tampa developer Darryl Shaw.
Florida Aquarium
Darryl Shaw has been named to the Tampa Bay 100 by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. He is currently working on the Ybor City Gas Works project, which aims to create office and retail space as well as affordable housing units.

Darryl Shaw, one of the figures behind the Ybor City Gas Worx project, will be leading the Sea Change fundraising campaign to fund the Florida Aquarium's expansion plan.

After setting an attendance record in 2022, the Florida Aquarium’s Sea Change campaign of 2023 will be its largest yet.

The fundraising effort will be led by Tampa developer Darryl Shaw, and will be used to fund the aquarium’s expansion project, which began this month.

The Sea Change campaign’s goal of $40 million will pay for new habitats for California sea lions, puffins and African penguins. It will also include a changing special exhibits gallery.

The expansion is scheduled to be completed in 2025.

“This expansion will bring rich and lasting experiences and education to our neighbors and visitors from across the world and supports our purpose to save marine wildlife in our backyard and throughout Florida,” aquarium president Roger Germann said in a news release.

Last year, the aquarium had nearly 925,000 visitors, the highest number in its 27-year history.

New exhibits in 2022 included the SeaTrek underwater walking tour and a bird exhibit called “Raptors.” The aquarium also made updates and improvements to classic favorite exhibits.

In the release, Visit Tampa Bay President Santiago C. Corrada attributed this year’s success to the vitality and dedication of the community, saying that the record attendance is “a testament to the hard work and dedication our community stakeholders and partners put in every day to push our economy forward.”

Shaw, who was named to the Tampa Bay Power 100 by the Tampa Bay Business Journal, is now working with Ybor City’s Gas Worx. According to an article by the Tampa Bay Times, the development project will include office and retail space, as well as 325 units of affordable housing.

Joanna Keen is the WUSF Stephen Noble Digital News intern for spring of 2023.