Arsht Center Repairs Will Cost Miami-Dade at Least $2.7 Million UPDATED

See also "Arsht Center Floods During Lion King Performance."

Repairs to the Adrienne Arsht Center

for the Performing Arts necessitated by a busted water pipe will cost

Miami-Dade County at least $2.7 million, according to a recent memo

from Mayor Carlos Gimenez. While some of the costs are covered by an

insurance policy, the county is on the hook for coming up with the

rest of the money.

In his June 20 memo to county commissioners,

Gimenez says his office is still assessing what the total cost of

the damage will be.

The hefty bill comes at a time when the

mayor has made drastic cuts to employee benefits and reduced the

number of county departments in an effort to plug large holes in the

county budget.

UPDATE: Gimenez will ask county commissioners at their regularly scheduled meeting tomorrow to set aside $5 million from an annual operating subsidy provided to the Performing Arts Center Trust to cover the repairs.

Gimenez told commissioners that the county can use convention development tax money, but he did not rule out other sources, including Miami-Dade's general fund. One option that is not on the table: Private funds raised by the performing arts center's foundation. Although Gimenez spokesman Suzy Trutie says the mayor is still evaluating the county's options.

The repairs are needed after a torrential downpour this past May 20 caused a storm pipe in the ceiling to fail. Water cascaded throughout the Ziff Ballet Opera House during a performance of The Lion King and forced theater goers to evacuate the premises.

According to Gimenez's memo, the water damaged the ceiling, hallways, several restrooms, stair finishes, base boards, electrical equipment, fire alarms, and two elevators. In order to reopen the opera house two days after the leaks, the Performing Arts Center Trust, which runs the facility, brought in crews to remove the standing water and dehumidify the opera house.

Those quick fixes, along with the inspections to reopen, cost an estimated $1.3 million, Gimenez says. He added that it will require at least another $1.4 million to demolish damaged areas. His administration is waiting on estimates for the reconstruction costs.

The $473 million performing arts center is owned by the county and opened in 2006, two years behind schedule and more than $218 million over budget.

UPDATE: Earlier this afternoon, Gimenez placed a request to authorize the use of the $5 million the annual subsidy on the county commission agenda. According to Gimenez, the county was able to shave off $600,000 off the initial clean-up and demolition costs. However, the mayor says the actual cost of reconstruction has not been determined.

06.20.12 Status Report on Arsht Center

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.