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Saturday, February 20, 2010

CIRQUE du SOLEIL-STYLE THEATRE WANTS TO LEASE FLORIDA STATE FAIRGROUNDS


By RICHARD MULLINS The Tampa Tribune
Published: February 18, 2010
TAMPA - The Florida State Fairgrounds could see development of a Cirque du Soleil-style theater and entertainment complex.
There are few details as of yet. But Fairgrounds officials say entertainment entrepreneur Marco Veilleux presented plans to the Fair Authority board for a site to include a theater and development site for shows.
Veilleux has a history in entertainment with projects like Cirque du Soleil, but has set off to operate his own shows through a company called The Imagineering Dreams Factory based in Newport Beach, Calif.
The proposal in Tampa includes eight acres at the fairgrounds. No plans appear set in stone as yet. Veilleux could not be reached for comment. Imagineering Dreams filed incorporation paperwork with the State of Florida in January 2009, with an address in Ft. Lauderdale.
Tampa could have some competition for such a theater project, as developers have proposed a similar project in Sarasota last year.
That site would include a 125-foot-tall Kevlar tent-style theater in an area called The Quay. The project would cost roughly $30 million, and rely to some extent on public money, developers told media at the time. It would hold up to 5,000 people, and be operated by Imagineering Dreams Factory.
Mark Famiglio, a Sarasota developer and entrepreneur, is backing that project. At the time it was revealed last year, Veilleux told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that "When you're in our theater, you're not on this planet."
That concept operates in a theater in Quebec, Canada, the Theatre de la Dame de Coeur, producing elaborate shows with dream-like sets, acrobats, musicians and life-size puppets.
Reporter Michael Sasso contributed to this report. Reporter Richard Mullins can be reached at (813) 259-7919.

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