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Front Page » Top Stories » Straub Says Cirque Du Soleil Has Not Asked About Miami Arena

Straub Says Cirque Du Soleil Has Not Asked About Miami Arena

Written by on April 5, 2007

By Eric Kalis
The owner of the Miami Arena said Monday that he is open to the possibility of Cirque du Soleil moving into the vacant facility but has not been contacted by the Montreal-based troupe.

Glenn Straub, a Palm Beach businessman who bought Miami Arena in 2004 for $28 million, said neither he nor his associates have met with representatives of Cirque du Soleil, which may be looking for a South Florida home after plans to take over the Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami Beach fell through last year. Mr. Straub has sought a new use for the former home of the Miami Heat and Florida Panthers since buying the arena.

"I have had no discussion with Cirque du Soleil about the arena," Mr. Straub said. "Anything is possible. I understand they had interest" in other South Florida venues.

Mr. Straub said he is open to outside ideas about how the arena should be used. Florida Marlins officials last year considered parcels directly south of the arena between Northwest Seventh and Fifth streets as a potential site for a new baseball stadium.

"If someone has ideas, I would welcome them," Mr. Straub said. "There have been different ideas about a baseball facility. I know there is plenty of interest in that part of town."

Cirque du Soleil officials are open to exploring South Florida venues but have not specifically considered Miami Arena, said public-relations director Renée-Claude Ménard. "South Florida is still a great destination location, and Cirque du Soleil still believes it could offer a great entertainment proposal," Mr. Ménard said Tuesday. "This being said, we were very disappointed with the outcome from the Jackie Gleason project. But we are always open to possibilities that could arise in the future if any come our way."

Once a leading contender to assume operations at Gleason, Cirque du Soleil officials pulled out of consideration last year hours before a Miami Beach City Commission meeting in which Live Nation, the country’s largest concert promoter, was approved for a 15-year lease to run the 2,700-seat city-owned theater.

Had a deal with Cirque du Soleil gone through, the theater would have been closed for two yeas for renovations to accommodate the troupe’s acrobatic shows.

Mr. Straub’s ongoing litigation with developer Scott Silver would have no bearing on a sale of the arena to Cirque du Soleil, Mr. Straub said. Mr. Silver sued Mr. Straub in September saying that he improperly terminated a deal to sell the arena for $50 million. Mr. Straub filed a countersuit shortly thereafter.

If Cirque du Soleil or another entity is interested in using the arena, they would have to assume control of the arena’s operations, Mr. Straub said. "I don’t have to control every property," he said. "I won’t run it as a day-to-day business that loses money. There is enough competition in the area." Advertisement