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Front Page » Top Stories » Developer May Build Parking For Performing Arts Center

Developer May Build Parking For Performing Arts Center

Written by on October 21, 2004

By Samantha Joseph
The parking void in the Performing Arts Center plans may be filled by a New York group pledging to invest $1 billion in Miami-Dade County.

Officials from Leiev & Boymelgreen Developers confirmed Tuesday that they had met with Miami’s Downtown Development Authority to discuss the possibility of building a 1,500-space parking area to serve the center under construction on Biscayne Boulevard.

The company is part of a partnership that in July committed to build about 3.5 million square feet of residential, commercial and parking projects in Miami and Miami Beach and purchase 25 lots in the two cities.

"What we’ve done is made it clear to the (Downtown Development Authority), who is actively trying to reach a workable solution, that we are absolutely interested and willing to do anything that we can to help," Mark Armstrong, Leiev & Boymelgreen’s director of construction, said Tuesday.

The Community Redevelopment Agency and the Miami-Dade School Board are involved in the effort and plan to issue a request for proposals from interested developers.

The center’s original planning appears to have overlooked the need for parking.

The oversight is one of several that have plagued the $370 million project under construction in the Omni area between 13th and 14th streets.

As of March, the center was nearly two years behind schedule and $70 million to $90 million over budget because of delays.

Last summer, center president and CEO Michael Hardy detailed a $27.3 million deficit and said the project needed at least $19.4 million for buildout, equipment and other expenses to meet its goal of opening by May 2006.

Planners and city promoters are working on a deal that have a developer covering costs of providing parking.

"There are several moving parts that need to be evaluated in order to come up with a win-win solution," said Dana Nottingham, the Downtown Development Authority’s executive director.

In September, the development authority hired a consultant to examine parking options and create a business model and strategy.

Within about five weeks, the consultant should produce a report that would be the basis for structuring the request for proposals, Mr. Nottingham said.

"We’re halfway into that process," he said. "The next step would be to come up with some alternatives for the stakeholders to review."

One option, according to Mr. Hardy, is a plot of land west of the planned ballet opera house.

The school board and Leiev & Boymelgreen Developers jointly own the parcel that spans the 1300 block of Northeast First Court.

Leiev & Boymelgreen envisions a mixed-use project on the land – an idea that center officials welcome.

Said Mr. Hardy: "What we hope will happen on the site is a 1,500-car garage with retail and residential development."