During a Sept. 6 unveiling event for the Center for Arts and Innovation, CEO Andrea Virgin stands with board member Matt Cimaglia (left) and Antoine Chaaya, the partner in charge of the project for the architect Renzo Piano Building Workshop. No renderings of the latest plans have been released yet. Photo provided
By Mary Hladky
The Center for Arts and Innovation has raised enough money to meet initial requirements set by Boca Raton during negotiations to complete a deal that allows a performing arts complex to be built on city-owned land in Mizner Park.
If center officials had failed to meet the requirements, the city could have halted the project by terminating a development agreement and the lease of 1.8 acres of city land on which the complex will be built.
The fundraising deadline was Oct. 21, one year after the City Council approved the deal. Center officials needed to raise $25.4 million, which is 25% of the hard construction costs for the project. They also had to show that they had a minimum of $12.7 million in cash.
Center officials surpassed those requirements, raising $26.4 million for hard construction costs that includes $12.8 million in cash, according to a report sent to the city.
“On behalf of all the tremendous supporters who made this threshold moment possible, we thank you and look forward to continuing our partnership with the City of Boca Raton,” center chair and CEO Andrea Virgin wrote.
“Based upon the information provided, the center is currently in compliance with the requirements” of the development agreement, Deputy City Manager George Brown wrote in an Oct. 25 email to the City Council.
Virgin will report on the project’s status at the Nov. 27 Community Redevelopment Agency meeting. Council members also sit as CRA commissioners.
The city has set additional fundraising deadlines in 2024 and 2025, as well as deadlines for matters such as submitting detailed plans for the project, obtaining building permits and raising money for reserves and endowments.
The project will transform the north section of Mizner Park. Plans call for completely renovating the run-down city amphitheater and building a performing arts center, jewel box theater, rooftop terrace, outdoor performing arts spaces and a garage. The complex would accommodate 6,000 people in all its venues.
Under the deal, the project must be completed by 2033. But Virgin wants to start construction in 2025, the year that marks the city’s 100th birthday, and complete it in 2028.
An architectural firm, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, whose partners include Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner Renzo Piano, has started work designing the complex. The firm’s worldwide projects include the Shard in London and the new Whitney Museum in New York.