Performance arts groups say Dr. Phillips Center rent is too high

Rent is going up for three Orlando performing arts groups. 

If the Orlando Ballet, Philharmonic or Opera Orlando plan to perform at the Dr. Phillips Center's Steinmetz Hall, they're going to have to shell out more money. 

The groups say they can't afford it.

"In the last two years, we have already taken on 50 percent increases in rates in the Disney Theater, when we move into Steinmetz in the next two years, we'll have a 26 percent increase in rates," said Shane Jewell, executive director of the Orlando Ballet.

"We understand that Dr. Phillips center is a crown jewel. We understand that it's state-of-the-art and was a big investment, and they have bills to pay. We do understand, but so does an orchestra or a ballet, or an opera company," said RK Kelley, former board president of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

Negotiations between the performance companies and the theater have not resulted in a deal.

"The challenges we have have gotten us to a stalemate where we can't come to an agreement on contract negotiations," Jewell said.

The Dr. Phillips Center released a statement that reads in part:

"…we are proud to say that we are offering the lowest rent for similar venues in the state. Based on the gradual increase schedule, the ballet, for example, would only need to sell a minimal level of additional tickets per show to make up the difference."

But the groups call the statement misleading.

"When you compare the size of the venue to other performing arts centers out there, it's way above the national average for what the rental rate should be," said Gabriel Preisser, executive director of Opera Orlando.

The companies say with time they may afford the prices, but they're still growing their audience.

"That's going to take some years of investment and a little patience and compromise along the way," Kelley said.

Negotiations have been halted, according to the groups. 

It's a major concern because they can't book their the next season without a venue.