Arts center needs $19 million more, CEO says
By Samantha Joseph
The Miami Performing Arts Center needs an additional $19.4 million in non-construction funds to open, according to President Michael Hardy.
Without the funds, the $370 million project rising on Biscayne Boulevard won't meet a May 2006 opening.
"I think it's essential," Mr. Hardy said Tuesday of making up the deficit. "If we don't have it, we can't open."
He hopes to raise money from government, public support and possibly the county's convention development tax. He said he thinks chances are good.
His status report released this week outlines a $27.3 million shortfall but says the center could defer $7.9 million of that until after opening.
According to the report, "value engineering" decisions several years ago to reduce the center's price tag cut $5 million that officials now must replace or do without phones, security devices, wood floors that they say are vital aesthetically and other amenities.
The center also needs $4.4 million for furniture, equipment and fixtures, plus $10 million for 100 employees, administrative costs and marketing.
"It had been hoped that these elements could be funded from the construction. contingency and state and federal funds," the report says, "but we now know the contingency will be exhausted by construction overruns" that continue to mount.
Of the non-construction deficit, Mr. Hardy says the center can delay getting a $3 million opera-translation system and a $2 million-plus pipe organ.
Still, the bulk of the deficit - at least $19.4 million - is looming.
"Failing to meet today's challenges is not an option," according to the report. "As Miami's community partners we renew our call for support from the public sector."