York Museums Trust has received £3.5m from the Arts Council England for work to be undertaken at York Art Gallery and £1.167m from the Heritage Lottery Fund for York Castle Museum, with legal assistance from the commercial property team of Leeds law firm Shulmans solicitors.
The £4.6m+ funding required variations to be made on the terms of the leases for both buildings, which are owned by York City Council. Shulmans handled negotiations with the Council and the two funding bodies.
York Art Gallery will re-open in spring 2015 after an £8m development, which has been funded through charitable trusts and foundations and the Council, as well as through an Arts Council grant.
The work will see the creation of 60 per cent more exhibition space and will establish a national centre for ceramic art.
The development will allow the gallery to show more ambitious and high profile exhibitions, provide extra learning space, create a new sculpture garden and will offer visitors improved facilities.
The grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will provide the majority of funding needed for a £1.7m development at York Castle Museum.
This will include a major exhibition on the First World War, to be launched in June 2014 for the centenary of the conflict. A lift will also be installed, allowing disabled access to the upper floors for the first time.
Andrew Latchmore, partner at Shulmans, said: “We have previously worked with both York City Council and York Museums Trust, which helped us to ensure the negotiations were conducted quickly and smoothly.
"We’re delighted to have been able to help play a part in securing the funding for the renovation of two such important Yorkshire attractions, which are a great asset to the region. We look forward to seeing the end results.”
Michael Woodward, chief operating officer, said: “The team at Shulmans were both efficient and professional while working with the Trust in our bid to secure both funding applications.
"The £8m development at York Art Gallery will see it become one of the best regional galleries in the country, showcasing even more of our nationally important collections and providing the space and conditions needed to attract much larger touring exhibitions which previously would not have been possible."