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Two Local Construction Firms Will Complete Broward Center Project



Two familiar names in South Florida construction – Stiles Corp. and Miller Construction Company – are banding together in a multi-million dollar project to renovate and expand the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

The 18-month, $50 million project will give the theater a facelift, plus add a two-story waterfront pavilion and terraced dining area, and a three-story arts education wing that faces the Avenue of the Arts. The entire project is expected to generate about 500 construction jobs before its 2014 completion.

Both firms will provide supervisors, project managers and administrators to renovate and build the new amenities, Miller Construction President Harley Miller said. “For both of the companies, we want to see a happy client when we’re finished,” he said. “We’re going to be here in the community for a long time, and it’s important that everything we do is first class.”

The joint venture competed against national firms to bring the Broward Center into its next era, and it was important to Miller and Stiles that local firms took part in the project. “Broward Center for the Performing Arts is a defining Fort Lauderdale community asset in our own backyard,” Stiles Corp. CEO Terry Stiles said. “We really wanted to take this role in the center’s evolution. Teaming with Miller – instead of going in as competitors – made sense.” Both firms have constructed a fair share of large, high-traffic facilities. Stiles was responsible for the recent expansion of the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale and the expansion of Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. Miller completed the construction of the Rose & Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center and Don Taft University Center on Nova Southeastern University’s Davie campus.

When deciding how a state-of-the-art center could be developed, Broward Center President and CEO Kelley Shanley turned to the patrons and their experiences for the answer. Shanley said the venue is experimenting with “unpacking the content” – a solution to the idea that, although the Broward Center brings great content to the stages, there is not enough time to bring the content off the stage to give people deeper knowledge of the art form they just experienced.

“These new places that we’re creating will give people the chance to connect with the artists and to connect with each other in the spaces around the theater,” he said. Those spaces include the Club Level lounge area, with dedicated seating on the mezzanine level of the Au-Rene Theater. Guests there will have access to fine food, an open bar and attentive service.

In addition to the lounge area, the 11,700-square-foot Huizenga Pavilion will have both indoor and outdoor seating with riverfront views, and a riverside bistro for dining. To accommodate patrons before and after the show, the Broward Center will extend its hours, Shanley said. The center also hopes to build on the foundations it has already established, such as its relationship with Broward County schools, said Scott Butler of Wilson Butler Architects, the lead architectural firm in the project. The 25,000-square-foot Rose Miniaci Arts Education Center, on the west side of the Au-Rene Theater, will feature a large studio theater for workshops and smaller performances and an auditorium of sorts for large groups of students. The building will also have breakout spaces for smaller classroom instruction.

“There are a lot of ways we can deliver these programs more frequently now,” he said. “There are a lot of programs that we’re already doing, but we don’t always have the space to do them all the time. Now we can.”


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