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Historic Olympia Theater May Get New Life With Plans to Add Housing Above It

Miami officials are mulling plans to restore Downtown Miami’s aging Olympia Theater and add housing on top of it, per Miami Today

Miami’s Department of Real Estate and Asset Management received an unsolicited proposal from RUDG (Related Urban Development Group) LLC, an arm of the Related Group. Plans call for forming a public-private partnership to redevelop the site’s 80 residential units and make capital improvements to the theater. The Miami City Commission is set to discuss the proposal this week.

The property’s formal name is the Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts and is owned by the city. Located at 174 E. Flagler St., it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is managed by a nonprofit organization. It hasn’t had a major facelift in more than 15 years.

Plans call for demolishing and replicating the theater per the City of Miami Historic Preservation Office standards and building mixed-income affordable and workforce housing on top of it. Workforce housing is generally defined as attractive and affordable residences for middle-income service workers such as police officers, teachers, and nurses near their jobs.

The Olympia Theater opened in 1926 as a silent movie palace and the city’s first air-conditioned building. In 1975 Maurice Gusman bought the theater and adjacent Olympia office building and donated them to the city. It has hosted major events such as the Miami Film Festival. The venue also hosted then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2007 during his book tour.

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