The Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center (PACWTC), also called the Performing Arts Center for short, is a multi-space, 150 to 800-seat performing arts center under construction at the northeast corner of the World Trade Center complex. The site is located at the intersection of Vesey, Fulton and Greenwich Streets in Manhattan, New York City.
The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) announced on October 12, 2004, that Gehry Partners LLP and Snøhetta, an architectural firm from Norway, would design the Performing Arts Center. Gehry's proposal, which incorporated a boxlike design, would have housed the Joyce Theater, as the Signature Theater Company had dropped out due to space constraints and cost limitations.
Plans for the construction of the Performing Arts Center were reportedly stalled over financing and design, although construction was also hindered by the presence of the temporary World Trade Center PATH subway station entrance located within its footprint.
In February 2014, David Lan, Artistic Director of London's Young Vic Theatre, was announced as Consulting Artistic Director of the PACWTC, a position he will hold simultaneously with his Young Vic leadership. The venue's mission was revised to originate works of theater, music, and dance in three small flexible theaters.
By September 2014, Gehry Associates were no longer connected with the project. Plans were proceeding for the choice of a new architect and future programming for a 2019 opening. Gehry's design was scrapped; the board of the Performing Arts Center planned to choose a new design from one of three other architects. This change came after Maggie Boepple, the president of the Performing Arts Center appointed in 2012, was said to have disapproved of Gehry's work.
In July 2015, it was reported that the construction budget for the Performing Arts Center was to be reduced from $350 million to $200 million. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) announced at a board meeting that the $99 million in federal funds committed to the project was contingent on the arts center's leaders’ "producing an affordable design and a viable plan for raising the remaining money from private sources." In November 2015, the Performing Arts Center announced that they had awarded the design architect contract to Joshua Prince-Ramus of Rex Architecture P.C., with the firm Davis Brody Bond to serve as executive architect.
On March 3, 2016, the permanent PATH station building opened one block to the south, and the temporary entrance was closed. The opening of the new station building allowed the temporary station entrance to be demolished in August of that year. This, in turn, allowed the construction of the Performing Arts Center on the site.
On June 29, 2016, billionaire Ronald Perelman donated $75 million to the construction and endowment of the Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center. Because of his contribution to the facility, the center was renamed after him. In September 2016, Barbra Streisand was named the Center's Chairwoman of the board. The concept art for the new building was revealed that month, with mostly positive reviews from architecture critics.
On March 27, 2017, it was announced that construction would be delayed due to ongoing disputes between the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) and the Port Authority regarding funding for the project. When completed, the Performing Arts Center will include approximately 90,000 square feet across three floors. The public floor will be located at street level, and will house a restaurant/bar to provide refreshments during show intermissions. The second floor will consist of rehearsal and dressing rooms for theater actors, and the third floor will house three distinguished theaters. All three theaters are designed so that the walls will be able to rotate and expand to provide extra space for a single theater if needed. The theaters will occupy approximately 1,200 people combined.
Construction began in August 2017 on its below-grade parking garage, which will be accessible from the rear of the building on Vesey Street. Work on the building itself was originally expected to begin in 2018, with an estimated 2020 completion date and opening. The Port Authority gave the Performing Arts Center a 99-year lease in February 2018. The first pieces of structural steel arrived that April. Work was halted in early 2018 due to financial disagreements between the Port Authority and LMDC, but routine steel work and concrete pouring resumed shortly thereafter. Construction of the structure itself will begin in mid-2019 when the first major piece of structure steel, nicknamed "Big Boy", is delivered to the construction site. The beam would be the main structural support connecting three of the Performing Arts Center's theaters.
As of August 2018[update], the completion date was scheduled for between 2020 and 2022. The Performing Arts Center received $89 million from the LMDC and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development in December 2018.