November 1, 2016 – Orlando, FL – The Orange County Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted this afternoon to approve an amendment that would provide an additional $45 million for the completion of Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
This is the third and final vote that officially allows for the funding, which is made up of monies collected from the Tourist Development Tax. The funding plan, proposed in a memo from Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs on September 9, 2016, was unanimously approved by both the Tourist Development Council on September 30, 2016 and the Orlando City Council on October 24, 2016.
The voting specifically approves amending the 2007 Interlocal Agreement for the Community Venues that allocates funds to begin commencement on the completion of the arts center, otherwise known as Phase II, which includes Steinmetz Hall, a large rehearsal room and other amenities. The new 1700-seat acoustical theater will provide a home for local companies: Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orlando Ballet.
“We are thrilled, of course, with today’s outcome. This unanimous vote is an absolute testament to the work we’re doing and will continue to do,” said Jim Pugh, chairman of the board of Dr. Phillips Center. “We are fulfilling our promise that we made to the community. We still have a little work to do, but this is exactly the momentum we need to finish what we started.”
With the receipt of the $45 million in tourist tax dollars, the arts center has approximately $10 million more to raise before this year’s end in order to break ground at the end of January. Final numbers for the total cost of Phase II will not be finalized until all construction bids are received in December, but the estimated total cost of the entire arts center will be approximately $570 million.
“Today’s vote is going to propel us to close up that fundraising gap, which looks to be approximately 2%. That’s how close we are,” added Kathy Ramsberger, president and CEO of Dr. Phillips Center.
“Since opening in late 2014, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts has become one of the most celebrated artistic centers in the nation. After the Pulse tragedy, the Dr. Phillips Center quickly became the heartbeat of our community and played a pivotal role in helping our community and nation in grieving and healing,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “We’re so proud of this tremendous cultural asset and are committed to its completion – particularly for the benefit of our local performers. To take strategic advantage of tourist-generated taxes, I proposed a change to the current debt structure. Today, our Board of County Commissioners voted to allocate an additional $45 million for the Dr. Phillips Center, which will allow the arts center to efficiently complete Phase II. Today’s action will not raise taxes or financially impact local residents in any way.”
“The Dr. Phillips Center has become an iconic symbol that inspires all of us to be proud of our city, but the vision that was approved in 2007 isn’t complete,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Today’s vote that moves forward the Steinmetz Hall fulfills that vision and further enhances our arts and entertainment offerings.”
“This is a kick-off, really,” continued Ramsberger. “We are grateful for the support of the City and County and tourism industry, but also to our board, donors, staff, volunteers, commercial and local artists, as well as the guests who make the arts center what it is today and what it will be in the future. This is the beginning of the next phase that is only made possible because of each and every one of those people.”
Details regarding ground-breaking will be announced soon.
About the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization operating the state-of-the-art performing arts center in downtown Orlando, Florida. With its opening in November 2014, the performing arts center launched its vision of Arts for Every Life by being a gathering place for creativity and discovery; a vibrant urban destination where artists, audiences and students come to experience, explore and learn. The two-block community destination features the 2,700-seat Walt Disney Theater, 300-seat Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, Seneff Arts Plaza, Dr. Phillips Center Florida Hospital School of the Arts, the DeVos Family Room, and other event rental spaces. Future expansion includes Steinmetz Hall, a 1,700-seat acoustical theater, along with rehearsal, classroom, office space and commercial development spaces. The Dr. Phillips Center is a private non-profit collaborating with the City of Orlando, Orange County, the State of Florida and generous donors.