Parking-less Performing Arts Center looks into availability of neighborhood garages
By Shannon Pettypiece
Performing Arts Center planners envision using existing garages and planned structures to park cars for the 4,800 people who could attend events when more than one hall is in use.
Plans for the center, scheduled to open next year, do not include on-site parking. The center will not lease or reserve spaces, and there will be no free parking, said Michael Hardy, president & CEO of the Performing Arts Center Trust.
One option for parking could be a garage at Omni International Mall about two blocks from the center. The garage's main use now comes from New Radisson Hotel Miami and Miami International University of Art and Design.
The 2,700-space garage is typically one-third full and used mostly by university students and staff and hotel guests, said Douglas Reed of Ampco System Parking, which manages the Omni-owned garage.
"Right now, there is not a lot of parking. Mostly, it is surface parking scattered all over the place," said Mr. Reed. Ampco charges $1 an hour for parking at the garage, the biggest parking facility in the area, he said.
Parking owned by Knight Ridder at the Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald building, also about two blocks away, is currently used by newspaper employees but may have open spaces during the evenings and on weekends in the garage attached to the building and in nearby lots, Mr. Hardy said.
"We expected there will be paid parking from the east in the Knight Ridder parking lot," Mr. Hardy said. "In the evening, there should be parking available, but there is not an agreement yet."
A private developer is in the preliminary phases of planning a for-pay parking structure west of the center on Second Avenue between 13th and 14th streets which could add 1,500 spaces, but the structure has not been financed and is not finalized, he said.
Also possible for arts center use are future surface lots under Interstate 395 - in the early stages of planning by the Florida Department of Transportation.
The Performing Arts Center will straddle more than two blocks between 13th and 14th streets on Biscayne Boulevard next to MacArthur Causeway in downtown Miami. It will house the Miami City Ballet, the Florida Grand Opera, Concert Association of Florida and the New World Symphony. The Florida Philharmonic is planned as a resident company and still has a lease, but the group's recent bankruptcy filing places their status in limbo, according to a spokesman for the Performing Arts Center Foundation.
Planned to cost $370 million, Mr. Hardy said in May that the center's final construction bill could be closer to $400 million.
The center will need a maximum 2,500 parking spaces on nights when all three of its theaters are open and sold out, Mr. Hardy said, and will rely on existing lots near American Airlines Arena for events in the center's outdoor plaza, like cultural festivals or specials events.
He said he doesn't anticipate parking being a problem for those who attend events at the center.
"We are on track. There are agreements that need to be signed, but we are aware of all those," Mr. Hardy said. "I don't see any obstacles."