(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Cirque du Soleil has announced that it is scaling back plans for the $130 million entertainment complex planned for South Beach in Miami, Florida, and will propose a more modest remake of the Jackie Gleason Theater to accommodate the acrobatic circus troupe.
The company’s original plans faced strong opposition from the nightclub and restaurant industry in the area, as well as from tourism leaders concerned about drawing funds from the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Original developer Jorge Perez, one of South Florida’s most influential builders, has also pulled out of the project, disappointed with the cutbacks, according to the Miami Herald.
Perez, who first came up with the idea of bringing Cirque to Miami Beach, would have served as the developer and a partner in the project, which was initially proposed as a nightclub, shops and a celebrity-chef restaurant in a complex surrounding an elaborate new theater in the Gleason.
City Manager Jorge Gonzalez said Cirque no longer wants the nightclub or restaurant, and plans a less costly remake of the theater.
“They trying to scale down the cost of the project,” Gonzales told the paper. “They’re trying to maximize what’s there today and retrofit that, rather than completely gutting it and making it over.”
Gonzalez told the Herald that Cirque has not provided new financial estimates for the construction project.
The plans for the Miami Beach Cirque project, originally backed by Related and Clear Channel Entertainment, proposed contributing $50 million for a $150 million development, with the public contributing the rest. That was later scaled down to a $45 million contribution from Cirque, for a $130 million project. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers