The 7 Seas Aquarium announced the facility will open Feb. 24 at the Temple Mall, but officials have not filed for the necessary city permits, Temple spokeswoman Laurie Simmons said Tuesday.
Simmons said the city of Temple’s Building Inspections and Permits Department initially met with the aquarium’s general curator Fidel Junco in November, noting how he would need a commercial building remodeling permit, including electrical and plumbing.
“Staff with the city of Temple’s permitting department met with Mr. Junco again on Jan. 24, where he provided more verbal details on his unique aquarium plans,” Simmons said. “In order to better determine which permits were needed, city staff asked Mr. Junco to submit proposal plans, as well as meet with the city’s fire, life, safety and building teams on-site to review the proposed space, which he agreed to.”
However, Simmons noted how that is yet to happen with the aquarium’s proposed opening just under three weeks away. The nature of the modifications also remains unclear with the city, she said.
“The original unit we had planned to use at the mall in phase one of our opening was too small to accommodate the requirements of Temple City Permitting,” 7 Seas Aquarium said in a news release. “Therefore, with the great help of the Temple Mall management and staff, we were able to transition to the larger space in the mall formerly occupied by Dillard’s.”
Temple Mall General Manager Patrice Moody would not speak on the proposed modifications, citing a non-disclosure agreement.
“While this and other issues have delayed our opening, we have the assurance of support from the Temple City Permitting Department to get approval for the planned minor modifications required to use the larger space,” 7 Seas Aquarium said.
Although these minor modifications are unknown to the city, 7 Seas Aquarium has addressed their planned exhibits in its news release.
The news release said initial exhibits will include a river predator tank, shark interactive experience and touch tanks, while future plans will incorporate a lazy river, ocean predator observation tank and gift shop.
Junco could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
“Our main goal is to ensure this new venture will be safe for the general public once it opens,” Simmons said.