Orlando has approved the sale of $69 million in bonds to partially plug a gaping funding hole in its originally priced $1.1-billion downtown building program and kick-start construction of the $250-million first phase of the city’s new performing-arts center.
Funding for the second piece of the city’s venues program shrank when the recession cut revenue from the tourist development tax (TDT). The city had originally budgeted $130 million for the project; to date, TDT has generated only $10 million. Roughly $70 million in Community Redevelopment Agency bonds had already been provided for the Dr. P. Phillips Performing Arts Center (DPAC), initially slated to cost $450 million.
Private fund-raising has resulted in about $88 million, according to DPAC officials. Site demolition of the city-owned two-block downtown parcel is slated to start in April. Construction manager Balfour Beatty Construction of Orlando is now targeting a fall groundbreaking.
This first phase would deliver two of the three halls planned for the facility. The $70-million second stage would include the building envelope as well as administration and education spaces.
The third stage would include the third hall, a 1,700-seat facility sponsored by Walt Disney World Co.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer told ENR that the latest bonding sale is partly an attempt to sustain DPAC’s fund-raising momentum. “We’ve created this momentum,” Dyer says. “We think by breaking ground it will help with that commitment.”