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Front Page » Top Stories » Arts Center Officials Eye Land For Parking Garage

Arts Center Officials Eye Land For Parking Garage

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Written by on January 20, 2005

By Suzy Valentine
Performing Arts Center officials are considering building a garage for at least 1,000 cars opposite school board headquarters but probably will need private investment.

The center, due to open in 18 months, now has no parking facilities.

After a study by consultant Barry Abramson, the center’s trust is considering building on a lot on Northeast Second Avenue co-owned by the school board and Africa Israel Investments Ltd.

"We’ve been busy over the past six or seven months working with a consultant to study the overall parking issues," said board member Ricky Arriola at Tuesday’s trust meeting.

"Under consideration is use of the school board property on Northeast 14th Street west of the ballet opera house – whether it may be leased back, taken by the (Community Redevelopment Agency) or other types of transactions – so that we can combine the adjoining facility, which is directly south of the school board property, and come up with a plot big enough to accommodate our parking needs as well as the needs of the school board."

Parking will be reviewed next week and a decision will come within months, Mr. Arriola said.

One resident objected. "You’ve got the Omni garage two blocks away with 2,700 parking spaces," said Hubert Harriman. "You’ve got public transportation all around you. We don’t need more parking."

But patrons such as the Miami City Ballet’s Sunday matinee audiences, mostly seniors from Miami Beach, rely on cars, its general manager said.

"I know (trust president) Michael Hardy is working very hard, and as a potential renter, I know he’s addressing these issues," said Mark Rosenblum. "It’s our expectation that progress will be made.

"If the parking isn’t there, then we may have to rethink," he said. "But that’s a hypothetical issue. … We’d just like the Performing Arts Center to ensure that people of all shapes and sizes can attend."

Last week, the trust unanimously declined the ballet’s request for reduced rent for its first three seasons.

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