Nearly two years after first issuing debt to build a performing arts center, Orlando finally broke ground on the long-awaited facility.

A three-day celebration highlighted by a groundbreaking ceremony was held late last week and paid for by financial donors.

The central Florida city’s community redevelopment agency issued $126.8 million of tax-increment finance bonds in 2009 and 2010, and the proceeds will go toward the $202 million cost of phase one: a 2,700-seat auditorium and a 300-seat theater.

A second phase will cover additional facilities.

The project was delayed by the recession and required phasing in various features so revenues could recover enough to support future financing.

Further delays were caused by the need to impose additional contractual oversight.

The entire performing arts center is estimated to cost $383 million with $72 million of the cost coming from private donors.

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