Huge donation for World Trade Centre arts space

A performing arts centre that was part of the original plans for the World Trade Centre site in New York now looks like it will be built, thanks to a huge donation from billionaire Ronald Perelman. His USD75m (€67.5m) gift, combined with USD100m from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, means the Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center (PACWTC) project is closing in on its USD240m budget.

The facility will have three theatres of 499, 299 and 100 seats that can be combined into a single 1,200 capacity hall. Once completed it will become home to Tribeca Film Festival, and also host dance shows, recitals, chamber music, theatre and opera performances.

‘With the public money and this money and some other gifts in the pipeline, we are well on our way to having a superb workhorse of a building,’ said PACWTC president and director Maggie Boepple.

Proponents hope this cash injection will be enough to finally see the project completed after years of problems. Daniel Libeskind left space for a performing arts centre in his 2003 design, with celebrated architect Frank Gehry creating the concept. However, this was eventually scrapped and the budget slashed from USD700m to its present level, while original resident company Signature Theater Company also pulled out.

The new facility will be named after Perelman, with PACWTC’s board due to approve design plans in July.