Carnival Center says event parking now ample
By Risa Polansky and Eric Kalis
The Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, which has wrestled with parking since conception, kicks off its second season with more than adequate parking, says President and CEO Michael Hardy, though the intent remains to build an on-site garage.
But there's no need, says the nearby Omni Center's owner, calling now-temporary parking there a long-term solution.
The arts center has added 295 self-park spaces in two lots, one across from each hall's entrance, and retained the 2,165 available last season, 1,000 of them in the Omni.
Of the new spaces, 145 are to be in a lot owned by the Miami Herald. Miami Parking Authority board members are to be asked to OK that lease Oct. 3.
The new spaces, along with 290 valet spots, bring spaces to 2,750. The center's two main halls seat about 4,600 total.
Still, Mr. Hardy said, the center has "more parking here than we need. But it's not covered. It's not a garage. We understand that."
The Broward Center for the Performing Arts offers 1,400 spaces, 900 of them in a garage, Mr. Hardy said. The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, he said, has a 1,216-space garage.
Long-discussed county plans to end the Carnival Center's parking dilemma via a new garage remain in flux. Officials from the General Services Administration continue to negotiate with Maefield Development to build a garage at Maefield's planned City Square development adjacent to the arts center, said Lee Solomon, General Services' chief of real estate development.
The 1,000 spaces for arts center parking in the Omni, a block from the Knight Concert Hall main entrance, have been intended as an interim solution. But Mark Teitelbaum, chief operating office of Omni owner Argent Ventures, sees them as a permanent fix.
"I think the county is working on their obligation to try to get something right on top of the Carnival Center. God bless them if they can do it," he said. "At the end of the day, our facility is here and built. We're going to be where Carnival Center patrons are. They might come to realize sometimes the answer is staring you right in the face: the Omni has always been the solution."
Though county officials essentially wrote off the Omni as a long-term solution last spring, General Services is no longer ruling the center out, Mr. Solomon said.
With the Omni so near the center and already operating, Mr. Teitelbaum said, "there is no parking problem."
The center's parking plan for the season, Mr. Hardy said, includes resurfacing area lots and uniformly branding them, sidewalk cleanup and streamlined valet service, including Miami police guidance so valets can circumvent the area's maze of one-way streets to return cars faster, and an expedited valet option for Carnival Center Premier members.
Center self-parking will be $15, valet $20. The Broward center, Mr. Hardy said, charges $10 to park, and Kravis offers free self parking or $10 valet.