Point of View

Urban Land Institute names Adrienne Arsht Center finalist for “Project of the Year” award
June 8, 2009, 3:31 pm
Filed under: Awards and Recognition

The Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Southeast/Caribbean District Council has named the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts a finalist for its 2009 “Project of the Year” award. The award honors real estate projects that demonstrate positive community impact and sustainable land use. Other finalists for the 2009 Project of the Year award include the Fontainebleau resort in Miami Beach and 55 Merrick Way, a mixed-use residential, office and retail development in Coral Gables. 

arsht center low res 222 by Robin Hill

In selecting finalists for this award, ULI analyzed the Center’s performance as an engine for community impact, its role as a sustainable real estate project, and its success as a public-private collaboration.

Making a community impact
Since opening in 2006, the Adrienne Arsht Center has emerged as a cornerstone for the ongoing revitalization of downtown Miami’s urban core. In addition to being a venue where people from all corners of the South Florida community come together to share the performing arts, the Center is a catalyst for development in Downtown Miami. Diverse programming, coupled with free performances and community events, are fueling never-before-seen levels of interest in living and visiting Miami’s urban core.

“Downtown Miami is on the move,” said J. Ricky Arriola, chair of the Performing Arts Center Trust Board of Directors. “It’s no coincidence that the City’s emergence as a 24/7, pedestrian-friendly urban center has accelerated since the Adrienne Arsht Center opened its doors in 2006. Performing Arts Centers are magnets for people. We are drawn to culture, to entertainment, and to sharing the arts with others.”

The Center also offers a number of educational programs and initiatives for students, including field trips, special opportunities to interact with performers, and theatrical workshops. This summer, the Center will host an Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater summer camp, which will expose dozens of underserved children to the art of dance, free of charge.

Energizing Miami’s urban core
The Adrienne Arsht Center, itself a product of infill development, is injecting new life into a previously overlooked and underdeveloped part of Miami. Rather than taking shape outside the City’s urban core or atop vacant green space, the Center was built along Downtown Miami’s high-traffic Biscayne Boulevard, an easy walk or public transit ride away from tens of thousands of area offices and residences.

Carnival Center Grand Opening Prep - Photo by Robinn Hill for Carnival Center lo res

“What debuted as a campus of iconic buildings and world-class performance facilities has since materialized as an anchor for revitalization in one of downtown Miami’s most important neighborhoods and as an accessible resource and gathering place for the South Florida community,” said M. John Richard, President and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center.
As the Center evolves, so too does the neighborhood around it. Already, more than $1 billion has been invested in the immediate area since construction of the Center began. Before the Center was built, Downtown Miami was widely viewed as a pass-through destination; a quick stop en route to South Beach for many visitors. Today, residents and tourists are visiting Downtown to patronize shops, restaurants, night clubs, and cultural destinations. The Adrienne Arsht Center has been a catalyst for this transition.

A model public-private partnership
The public and private sectors have been integral in helping the Center sustain a high level of programming and community outreach, not to mention in getting the organization off the ground. Today, the community is realizing its return on investment in the Adrienne Arsht Center in the form of award-winning programs, educational initiatives, and area economic development.

Miami-Dade County’s investment in the Center’s development and construction is widely-known. Less-publicized is the public sector’s strong commitment to keeping the venue in like-new condition.

Biscayne  Blvd and Pedestrian Bridgee Photo by Robin Hill for Carnival Center lo res

The private sector – both on the individual and corporate levels – have complimented this support. Last year’s $30 million gift from businesswoman and philanthropist Adrienne Arsht helped propel the Center onto sound financial footing, opening the door to innovative programming and a balanced budget for 2008. At the same time, non-profit groups such as the John S. and James L. Knight foundation have been a driving force behind the Center’s community-based programs and events.

The ULI “Project of the Year” award will be presented during a special reception on Thursday, August 27.


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