City, Heat reach pact to return parking lot, end deal
commissioners and the Miami Heat have agreed to end a business deal
that over the past six months triggered controversy.
commissioners last week said the city will resume control of a parking
lot north of the American Airlines arena by month's end, closing out
a lease deal with the Miami Heat.
the same time, the Heat notified the city of its intent to cancel.
agreement has caused more trouble than it is worth," Jay Cross,
president of business development for the Miami Heat, wrote to commissioners.
"Rather than continue to be the focus of a controversy, we believe
it is in everyone's interest for the city to put the property out
for a public request for proposals."
this month will seek competitive proposals from private developers
wishing to landscape and operate the city-owned land as a parking
also asked City Manager Carlos Gimenez to explore whether the city
itself could operate the parking lot, an option that would keep revenues
in municipal coffers.
don't think we should be losing the significant dollars," Mayor
Joe Carollo said. He said that either the city or a top bidder should
run the parking lot during arena games and activities.
we spend there goes to waste," the mayor said, adding that the
lot would be torn up if the city decides to fill in the adjacent boat
slip during redevelopment of Bicentennial Park.
portion of the city-owned land will be taken by the state for the
widening of Biscayne Boulevard, due to begin in 2004. City officials
said a push to expedite the project could get the street-widening
started two years earlier.
we could do something that's a lot cheaper but could still look respectable,"
Mr. Carollo said.
mayor suggested a grass parking lot similar to lots at the city's
Orange Bowl stadium.
mayor is correct. We need to maximize the dollars and the revenues
to the city," said Commissioner Arthur Teele.
Teele said he was concerned about the quality of improvements for
is much easier to sort of do this on the cheap. But I don't think
that's a statement that we want on Biscayne Boulevard," Mr. Teele
Heat had planned to spend $528,000 to improve the property, including
$200,000 to pave and landscape the parking lot and $328,000 in shore-line
the deal approved last fall, the team was paying $2,500 a month rent
with a plan to use the city-owned land for valet parking.
Cross said unforeseen delays prevented the team from carrying out
the plan. "We have been unable," he said, "to park
cars there during arena events but have nevertheless paid our monthly
rent to the city."
Bilberry, city director of asset management, said the Heat was given
six months to complete the improvements.
basketball team did complete $178,000 in shore-line improvements,
Ms. Bilberry said. She said the NBA franchise had begun permitting
for the remainder of the improvements but withdrew when Heat officials
learned the city commission would revisit the issue.
Bilberry said the property improvements were considered a donation
and were not legally required.
my opinion by cancelling the agreement that the balance of their agreement
is not required," she said. "It was voluntary."
exchange for making the improvements and donating them to the city,
operating the parking facility would have provided an opportunity
to earn some minimal, below-market return on our investment of over
half-a-million dollars," Mr. Cross said. He said the potential
loss of the parking lot in three years limited the chances of recouping
remain concerned about the condition of the premises for safety and
aesthetic reasons and are hopeful that the city will move forward
immediately to rehabilitate the property," Mr. Cross said. He
offered to share with the city the team's architectural design for
the parking lot.
a separate agreement, the Heat is leasing city-owned land along the
south side of the deep-water slip a 6-foot-wide strip along
the water where the team wants to install floating docks for arena-goers
arriving by boat.
team plans to spend $500,000 on floating docks but city officials
said that plan is on hold while the team negotiates with the state
entity that owns the right to the deep-water slip.
the floating docks agreement the Miami Heat pays the city $1,000 a
month plus 8% of gross revenues of $150,000-$225,000, or 10% if gross
revenues exceed $225,000.