Knight International Center

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James L. Knight International Center
Jlkic logo.jpeg
Address 400 SE Second Avenue
Miami, Florida 33131
Location Downtown Miami
Coordinates 25°46′15″N 80°11′28″W / 25.77083°N 80.19111°W / 25.77083; -80.19111Coordinates: 25°46′15″N 80°11′28″W / 25.77083°N 80.19111°W / 25.77083; -80.19111
Owner Miami-Dade County and University of Miami
Operator SMG
Built 1981—1982
Renovated 1997, 2005
Opened October 1982
Construction cost ~$10 million
Former name(s) James L. Knight Convention Center (1982 - 1986)
Classroom-style seating 117 (Miami Lecture Hall)
Meeting room seating 444 (Ashe Auditorium)
Theatre seating 5,000 (James L. Knight Center)
Enclosed space
 • Exhibit hall floor 28,000 sqft
(Miami Convention Center)
Website Official Website

The James L. Knight International Center is a contemporary entertainment and convention complex located in Downtown Miami, Florida. Located within the Miami Central Business District, the venue opened in 1982. The complex is named after famed newspaper publisher, James L. Knight. Since its opening, the complex has hosted many business, entertainment and political events. Annually, it hosts Miami Dade College graduation ceremonies.

History[edit]

I think the James L. Knight Center is to Miami what the Apollo is to New York. We've had some top notch entertainment here and we're proud of that. Proud of a facility rich in history and filled with memories that continues to serve its community and play a vital role in its growth.

—Lorenzo Muniz, Previous General Manager of the Knight International Center and the Miami Convention & Conference Center.

He is the first General Manager in the history of the venue to ever produce an operational budget profit. The City of Miami recognized his accomplishments and on October 13th, 2011 awarded him with a Certificate of Merit.


The complex originally was built to be an exhibition hall for the downtown Miami area, to attract business conferences, trade shows and conventions. Previous conventions were held at the Miami Beach Convention Center. However, the business atmosphere for Miami Beach began to decline. City officials saw this as an opportunity to claim the market for the blossoming downtown business district.[1] The space, known as James L. Knight Convention Center, was the project of the City of Miami.[2] During its construction, the University of Miami sought a sports arena for its revitalized basketball program. Famed newspaper publisher, James L. Knight donated over one million dollars towards the cost of the arena.[3] The space became known as the University of Miami Auditorium.

Along with the Hyatt Regency Hotel, the complex opened October 2, 1982 to the public. Although this venture was promising for the city government, it proved to be very costly. Although the center hosted many events, it was not able to draw large convention crowds due to its limited size.[4] The venue began to accumulate debt for the county and city officials were unsure of how to solve the problem. Taxes were increased to handle the $5 million annual operating costs and debt foe the venue.[5] In 1983,the FIU Sunblazers men's and women's basketball team used the UM Auditorium until the completion of the Sunblazer Arena in 1986.[6] Shortly after, the newly formed Miami Hurricanes men's basketball team occupied the auditorium and the center was revitalized.[7]

To meet demand, the city looked to expand the Knight Center to be used for large conventions, which would not only gained higher revenue for the county, but also solve the city's growing unemployment issue.[8] Concurrently, the University of Miami were also looking to build upon the athletic success of the auditorium by added a public meeting space and lecture hall.[9] During this time, the auditorium hosted its first concert event for the band, R.E.M..[10]

The Knight Center became used primarily for concerts when the Hurricanes moved into Miami Arena in 1988, and became the original home of the annual Premios Lo Nuestro ceremony in the 1990s, remaining until the ceremony moved into the newly completed Waterfront Theater at American Airlines Arena in 2000.

Facilities[edit]

  • Miami Convention Center
    • James L. Knight Center
    • Riverfront Exhibition Hall
      • North Hall
      • Central Hall
      • South Hall
    • Riverwalk & Dockage
  • UM Conference Center
    • Ashe Auditorium
    • Miami Lecture Hall
  • Hyatt Regency Hotel
    • Regency Ballroom
    • Riverwalk Cafe
    • Riverwalk Deli
    • Pure Verde

Location[edit]

The complex is located along the Miami River near Bayfront Park. Also in the area is the The Shops at Mary Brickell Village, Gusman Center for the Performing Arts and New World School of the Arts. The complex is serviced by the Knight Center station for the Metromover.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Knight Center a costly dream". Miami Herald. 1999-07-04. 
  2. ^ Brubaker, Dale (1982-10-09). "This is the magic of Miami". The Miami News. Retrieved 8 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "James L. Knight". Miami Herald. 1991-02-06. 
  4. ^ "Local rivalries spell trouble in convention city". The Miami Herald. 1983-02-10. 
  5. ^ "Join the Consortium". Miami Herald. 1984-09-13. 
  6. ^ "FIU plays Knight Center opener". Miami Herald. 1983-12-15. 
  7. ^ Otterson, Chuck (1983-19-13). "Basketball Returns to Miami in 1985". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 8 December 2010. 
  8. ^ Lynch, Ray (1986-01-07). "5,000 jobs foreseen in exhibit hall plan.". The Miami News. 
  9. ^ "UM: Put new hall near Knight Center". Miami Herald. 1986-01-16. 
  10. ^ Gleason, Holly (1986-11-25). "R.E.M. improves concert presence". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 8 December 2010.