The Museum of Illusion includes dozens of exhibits using mirrors and technology to create effects designed for selfies, as seen in this photo of the concept's Pittsburgh location. Photo courtesy of Gazit Horizons

The owner of a retail property next to Faneuil Hall Marketplace will add an interactive museum as its newest tenant, the first in a series of pending changes to the Boston tourism hub.

The Museum of Illusions, featuring immersive exhibits with an educational focus, will open later this year at the Marketplace Center property, owner Gazit Horizons said.

The lease is part of the Miami-based developer’s plans to update the semicircular retail property that sits between the Rose Kennedy Greenway and the Quincy Market building with more entertainment and destination tenants, as Gap and Banana Republic depart.

“We want to bring life back to the neighborhood, and give Bostonians who are walking by the property a reason to come,” Gazit Horizons CEO Zvi Gordon said.

The museum will replace the Gap store on the second floor of the property. Gazit Horizons also is seeking non-traditional tenants to fill the ground-floor Banana Republic space facing the Greenway, which will close when its lease runs out later this year.

Gazit acquired the 60,000-square-foot retail condominium at 200 State St. in 2019 for $81.8 million, when the property was fully leased.

In 2021, the Miami-based developer proposed a 120,000-square-foot expansion of the property, located between Faneuil Hall Marketplace and the Greenway, including a vertical addition containing office space. The permitting process has been on pause since 2022, and Gordon said the company will discuss future options with city officials.

“We need to rethink what the right use is going to be,” Gordon said. “The commercial viability of office was different than it is today, and we would like to do something here that’s very meaningful but we’re waiting for the right opportunity and concept to deliver what the city would really benefit from.“

The Marketplace Center property’s fortunes are tied partially to the tourist traffic generated by Faneuil Hall Marketplace, where a pending change of ownership could breathe new life into the half-century-old festival-style retail attraction.

Safra Group will acquire the lease from Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., operator of the property since 2011.

City officials pressed Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. to lease more space to local tenants, and pressured the company to sell the lease after citing lease violations related to deferred maintenance.

“It’s exciting to learn there is new ownership at Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall with a long-term investor. We hope that can be promising news in terms of having someone who’s willing to invest and drive the experience forward,” Gordon said.

The Museum of Illusion includes dozens of exhibits using mirrors and technology to create effects designed for selfies. Gordon said he first became introduced to the concept during a 2022 family vacation in Tel Aviv.

“Young adults love it because it’s a cool photo opportunity for them to share on social media,” he said.

From an initial location in Croatia, the Museum of Illusions concept has expanded to nearly 50 locations in 25 countries, including 24 existing and planned locations in North America, through franchising.

Franchisee LOL Entertainment will operate the museum’s Boston location.

Changes at Faneuil Hall Neighbor Begin with ‘Museum of Illusions’

by Steve Adams time to read: 2 min