Arts center seeking parking spaces from school board
By Suzy Valentine
The School Board of Miami-Dade County could agree next month to supply the Miami Performing Arts Center about 1,000 parking spaces.
It follows an agreement center officials struck with the Miami Parking Authority to satisfy part of its parking needs in time for the venue's official opening, scheduled for October.
The school board spaces are at 1370 NE Second Ave., which developer Leviev Boymelgreen hopes to acquire. If the deal is approved May 10, the arts center would have access to more than 1,500 parking spaces — the maximum number officials calculated would be required for performances at the 4,800-seat, three-stage project. The arts center incorporates a ballet opera house, a concert hall and a studio theater.
"We have two deals. We have two agreements," Jarret Haynes, director of facility operations, said at a center construction committee meeting April 12, "not only with Miami Parking Authority to manage outdoor parking, but we expect to lock down the school board spaces, which is a little less than 1,000 officially, at the May 10 school board meeting."
Other solutions are under consideration, he said.
"Apart from that, we're working on land that's owned by the county that's already under the control of the Florida Department of Transportation," Mr. Haynes said. "That will be one aspect of our parking plan. The other aspect will be the closure of our deal with an existing garage in the area."
Though he didn't disclose which facility, arts center officials are known to have been in negotiations with Argent, operator of the nearby Omni Center.
"That we hope to have done in the next week," said Mr. Haynes, "and that will give us our inventory, well in excess of the average 1,500 spaces that are under our control. That's the important aspect, that there will be 2,500 or so spaces under our control. We're selling them through our box office. We're controlling what lots people park in. They'll have the choice whether it's valet or self-parking."
Officials agreed patrons would need guidance on where to park and how to pay.
"I hope that in mid-May or by June 1, somewhere in that vicinity, we'll come out with a fully descriptive brochure of the parking with a map," said center President Michael Hardy, "with all the logistics worked out, the Web site address, the box-office number to call, how to purchase parking with guaranteed parking in advance."
"I know that we're trying to keep up good relations throughout the community," said Stanley Arkin, construction committee chairman. "I think everyone knows that our major problem in the community is the image of parking."
"That's why I think it needs a whole brochure," said Mr. Hardy, "and a special mailing."
Mr. Haynes said the center is laying the groundwork for parking purchases.
"We are training our customer-service representatives in the box office on how to sell parking," he said. "They are letting people know that come mid-May, early June, we will be in a position to offer parking at the time the ticket is purchased."