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ORLANDO-Five internationally known architectural firms are interested in doing the overall design for Orlando’s long-planned performing arts center, a project that is expected to cost $350 million at a so-far undecided Downtown site.

Project developer Hines International of Houston expects to pick the winning architectural firm in November when fund-raising will officially begin for a project initially planned 15 years ago. Tourist taxes and private contributions are expected to fund the center, area publicists in a position to know tell GlobeSt.com.

In the running for the overall design contract are Barton Myers Associates of Los Angeles; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill of Chicago; and three New York firms–Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Rafael Vinoly Architects and Robert AM Stern. All five have impressive credentials, according to local marketers following the project.

Barton Myers designed the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Portland Center for the Performing Arts in Oregon and the Tempe, AZ Center for the Arts. Pei Cobb Freed designed the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the University of Cincinnati’s Conservatory of Music and the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Rafael Vinoly designed the Jazz at Lincoln Center facility in New York, the Tampa Museum of Art and the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

Robert AM Stern designed the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in Houston, Disney’s Boardwalk hotel and libraries in Clearwater, Jacksonville and Miami. Skidmore Owings & Merrill designed Freedom Tower in New York, Sears Tower and the John Hancock Building in Chicago and the 35-story SunTrust Center office building in Downtown Orlando.

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