9 Investigates uncovered just how much leaders at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts wanted local arts groups to pay to perform at Steinmetz Hall when it's completed next year, before negotiations stalled last month.
Investigative reporter Karla Ray first broke the story last month when those rate negotiations were put on hold. Now, in a just-obtained document that center leaders presented to Orange County staff, we've learned the proposed base rate for resident companies Orlando Ballet and Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra was $5,500 per performance.
"It's not the rental rate, though that's the issue," Orlando Ballet President Jonathan Ledden said. "If the rental rate alone was the only charge, we would be happy to have that as a rate. It's the add-on fees."
Though Ledden agrees with the center's claims that the proposed rental rates are in line with the Florida average for similar venues, he says the total cost to perform is above what the local groups can afford.
"There are front of house charges, security charges, there is a per ticket facility fee, there are even additional add on charges the audience pays at point of sale at the box office," Ledden said.
No one from the center would speak to us on camera, but the center told us event-specific costs are passed on to all arts groups without a markup, and are driven by the market.
Center leaders noted in the record provided to the county that "rates need to meet the Florida average for the Center to stay true to its business model," noting the running cost per day is $12,400 excluding performances, or $86,800 a week.
Total add-on costs weren't specifically quantified for us by the center, but Ledden says it will be thousands more dollars for the ballet.
Center leaders say they have made multiple requests to meet with the Philharmonic, but the requests have been denied.
The Orlando Philharmonic told us in a statement: "We look forward to sharing the gorgeous music of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in the incredible Steinmetz Hall next fall. With the Dr. Phillips Center and our arts partners, the Opera Orlando and Orlando Ballet, we will find solutions to keep the music playing on!"
You can read the full response from Dr. Phillips Center below:
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