Financial consultants hired to study Miami sites proposed for baseball
Community leaders Tuesday moved forward in an attempt to weigh the economic factors involved in building a baseball stadium downtown.
City of Miami administrators met with representatives from consulting firms to commission studies on the financing involved for each of three sites being considered for the Marlins Bicentennial Park, property north of the Miami River and the Miami Arena area.
The action came after Miami city commissioners last week agreed to a proposal by Arthur Teele to earmark $100,000 to study the financial feasibility of the sites.
Stafford Sports from New Jersey and Legg Mason from Pennsylvania will conduct the studies, Commissioner Johnny Winton said Tuesday.
He said a date for completing the studies has not been set.
A proposal by County Mayor Alex Penelas and team owner John Henry to build the ballpark downtown expires Feb 14. The plan, which requires all agencies involved agree on terms, calls for the city to give the land favored by the team. Mr. Henry has said Bicentennial Park, off Biscayne Boulevard, was the only site available big enough to house the $385 million, 40,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof.
The commission, which allocated $200,000 early this year in an effort to redesign the long-neglected site, is not sure it wants baseball played in the waterfront park.
The financing of the stadium proposed in the letter of intent signed between Mr. Penelas and Mr. Henry is to be done mostly with taxes.
Sergio Pereira, a finance subcommittee member for the Community Improvement Authority a state-created body charged with recommending a possible site and financing for the stadium said Tuesday that many components were needed for an agreement to work.
It includes $75 million in bond capacity, $122 million in a state sales tax refund, $26 million of the city's parking surcharge and ticket surcharges, he told the nine-member authority.
"It is a total of $266 million. The rest is to come from the convention development tax," Pereira said.
The county would own the stadium, with Mr. Henry paying rent after it is built.
Once the financial studies are complete, the city manager could start negotiating with the county and the Marlins.
"Then the commission will tell me which deal to pursue," City Manager Carlos Gimenez told the authority Tuesday.
The 13-acre Miami River site is privately owned by various owners. The 6-acre Miami Arena is city owned but the additional acres needed are privately owned. The 17 acres in Bicentennial Park belong to the city.
Construction at the park would start right away because no land purchasing would be needed, Mr. Henry said.
To lessen growing opposition to the Marlins' preferred site, Miami Mayor Joe Carollo last week told the city commission last week that if they give up Bicentennial Park for a stadium, the county will allow the city to sell the old Miami arena and keep receiving the $6 million a year the county gives Miami to help run the building. According to Mayor Carollo, this would bring the city $123 million in revenue over 20 years.
The authority next meets Jan. 22.
Details: (305) 375-2531.