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Arts center opens in Miami

Venue turns up heat for biz

MIAMI — Taking a major step toward international cultural respectability, Miami witnessed the ground-breaking ceremony for the $244 million Performing Arts Center Sunday.

Without equal in Florida, the long-planned venue will serve as home to the Miami City Ballet, the Florida Grand Opera, the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, the New World Symphony and the Concert Assn. of Florida.

“They’ve had terrible places to perform. The physical plants will make a huge difference,” said James Herron, vice chairman of the PAC Trust.

Center turns up the heat

Located in downtown Miami, a stone’s throw from the Miami Heat’s soon-to-open American Airlines Arena, the Performing Arts Center is slated to bow in the fall of 2002.

About $200 million of the construction budget is publicly funded, as Miami seeks to consolidate its rep as a cultural mecca for both the U.S. and Latin America.

Site will feature two main buildings, a 2,480-seat ballet/opera house and a 2,200-seat concert hall, and planners foresee annual attendance of 500,000.