Kimmel Center, Inc. began to take shape in 1996 when two projects came together: The Philadelphia Orchestra's ongoing plan to build a new home for itself, and a plan of then-Mayor Edward G. Rendell to provide a much-needed venue for some of Philadelphia's most prominent performing arts companies and for touring presentations. With the generous consent of the Orchestra, which had acquired a property at Broad and Spruce Streets, the two plans were merged under the supervision and management of a new organization, the Regional Performing Arts Center (RPAC).
Today Kimmel Center, Inc. incorporates public amenities and operates three major venues. They include The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which is home to Verizon Hall (2,500-seat concert hall), Perelman Theater (650-seat recital theater), and Innovation Studio – a 2,688 sq. foot black box theater, a renovated and upgraded Academy of Music (2,900 seats), which is owned by the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Merriam Theater (1,841 seats), which is owned by the University of the Arts and still houses student activities and projects approximately 10 weeks out of the year.