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‘Mystery Box’ Performing Arts Venue to Rise at World Trade Center

A scale model of the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center, at the World Trade Center site, is displayed during a news conference in New York, Sept. 8, 2016.
Richard Drew—AP A scale model of the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center, at the World Trade Center site, is displayed during a news conference in New York, Sept. 8, 2016.

The Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center will be located next to One World Trade Center

NEW YORK (AP) — A design of translucent marble and glass was unveiled Thursday for a long-stalled performing arts center at the World Trade Center complex.

Officials also announced that Barbra Streisand will serve as board chair of the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center that will be dedicated to producing new works and serving as a public space.

Located between One World Trade Center and the memorial plaza, the cube-shaped center will aim to both commemorate the Sept. 11 tragedy and reflect the vitality of New York City, board members said from a room overlooking the project site.

Made out of translucent, veined marble and glass, the building will look like a “mystery box,” architect Joshua Prince-Ramus said. During the day, it will have a dull sheen. But at night, the three-level building will illuminate like a paper lantern.

The 90,000-square foot building will include three auditoriums and a rehearsal room.

Because artistic directors need flexibility with new productions, the rooms and halls will feature moveable walls to create up to 11 configurations, Prince-Ramus said. The largest configuration will hold up to 1,200 people for events like rock concerts.

Maggie Boepple, president and director of the center, said the space will be both a “birthplace” for new shows and a community center with amenities like a cafe and yoga classes.

The center also will be home to the Tribeca Film Festival.

Estimated to cost $250 million, the center still requires $75 million in donations before it opens in early 2020, Boepple said. Namesake Ronald Perelman, a billionaire businessman and Streisand friend, already donated $75 million in June. The federal Housing and Urban Development Authority has already contributed $99 million.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, a city and state government entity, gave the project the green light.

Board members have not yet determined which productions will be staged.

“Anyone who works here will have a huge responsibility to do their very best to commemorate those whose lives were lost,” Boepple said.

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