Wednesday April 20, 2005


Miami Performing Arts Center solicitation brochure Yesterday, I, along with every single person I know, got a copy of this schnazzy membership solicitation from the Miami Performing Arts Center. Bold direct-marketing moves for an organization that, last I heard, was looking for a way to pay for its seats, and which is an indeterminate number of years away from its first season. Well, ok, so how is MPAC doing these days?

The Center’s website says, “by December the building will stand at almost 92% finished.” Doesn’t sound too confident, huh?

That’s for good reason. MPAC was supposed to be finished in 2004, and cost $255 million. Now we’re looking at 2006, $419 million, and counting. Ouch!

Apparently the increases have a lot to do with squabbles between the architect and the contractor, each I guess accusing the other of incompetence. For example, the contractor ordered the wrong amount of steel for the project because, they say, the architect’s drawings were too vague to get a better idea of how much was needed. The county, who is overseeing all of this, had a real knock-heads-together solution: months of mediation to get the parties talking. That was back in 2003.

The thing that I’m vague on is how those amounts break down – some amount of the initial $255 million was picked up by taxpayers, and how much of the $164 million difference is being picked up by the taxpayers (something tells me the latter would be 100%).

As Henry Louis Mencken said: “The older I get the more I admire and crave competence, just simple competence, in any field from adultery to zoology.”

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