Miami to seek extension of Miami Arena sale
By Yeleny Suarez
The City of Miami's $28 million deal to sell Miami Arena is set to expire Monday with no closing at hand.
City officials are hoping for a contract extension or to have the potential buyer place payment in escrow. If those two options fail, the purchase offer would become void and the site would again go up for auction, city officials said Tuesday.
Assistant city attorney Olga Ramirez-Seijas said she hopes to have an extension approved and an escrow deal signed by Friday.
Miami Commissioner Tomas Regalado recommended that the city proceed with both options to avoid expiration of the contract and face putting it up for auction again.
"We need to proceed with both the escrow agreement and an extension. Just in case the escrow is not signed, we have the extension," Mr. Regalado said Tuesday.
Glenn Straub, owner of Palm Beach Golf and Country Club, won the rights Aug. 10 to buy the 16,600-seat arena for $28 million.
The city wants to sell the arena to help fund a financing agreement for a new baseball stadium for the Florida Marlins and renovate the Orange Bowl, Mayor Manny Diaz said Tuesday at a meeting of the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority.
Officials confirmed at the meeting that a prolonged attempt to approve an agreement among the city, the sports authority and Miami-Dade County concerning the sale will not meet the contracted deadline.
Mr. Straub said Tuesday that he did not have time to discuss the issue.
Ms. Ramirez-Seijas said an agreement resolution is ready to be considered today (11/18) by the city commission and Nov. 30 by the county commission.
The sports authority hadn't met since Aug. 13, two days after Mr. Straub won the right to purchase the arena.
Mr. Diaz on Tuesday blamed delays on interruptions caused by a flurry of hurricanes in September and the election Nov. 2.
In a recent interview, Mr. Straub said the delay in the sale is preventing his staff from scheduling equestrian events he was hoping to bring to Miami. He also said he cannot schedule other events before closing on the transaction.
A possible relocation of Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority offices from the arena also was discussed at the Tuesday meeting.
Jim Jenkins, executive director of the authority, said Mr. Straub has offered free rent to the authority for three or four months as long as the authority pays utility bills.
"I think MSEA should take the offer and stay until we find what it will handle," Mr. Regalado said Tuesday. "Later, we can offer Mr. Straub the $20,000 in inventory equipment in exchange for a year's rent."