Billionaire Donates $75 Million for World Trade Center Performing Arts Venue

News   Billionaire Donates $75 Million for World Trade Center Performing Arts Venue
Ronald O. Perelman's donation will help revive plans for the downtown arts center.
Ronald Perelman
Ronald Perelman Aubrey Reuben

Ronald O. Perelman, the former chairman of Carnegie Hall, will donate $75 million to build a long-in-the-works performing arts center located at the World Trade Center site, according to The New York Times.

The new complex, which will be named for the billionaire, will feature three flexible spaces, able to accommodate audiences of 499, 299 and 100. The spaces can also be combined into one theatre that seats 1,200. Dance, concerts, opera and theatre works will all be produced at the venue, which will also house the Tribeca Film Festival each April.

Perelman told the Times, “I think that this is a project that must happen…It is more than just a pure artistic center to serve a community. It is that, but at the same time it’s much more than that.”

The businessman added, “I would hope it is the first venue of choice for the Bruce Springsteens and the Bon Jovis and the Yo-Yo Mas and the Lang Langs, and at the same time it’s a place where we could have produced a Hamilton project or where we could produce a new ballet.”

An arts center was a key part of architect Daniel Libeskind's plan for the rebuilding of the site; in fact, several companies — including the Signature Theatre Company, New York City Opera and Joyce Theater — had all explored the possibility of anchoring the facility. Frank Gehry had even been hired to design the complex, but his work was eventually put aside.

The performing arts center will cost an estimated $240 million, according to the center's president and director, Maggie Boepple, who told the New York daily, “Ronald’s gift is going to open the doors… We have some other donors in the wings.”

A timetable for the Perelman Center has not been announced.

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