Tourism tax funding, parking fees key elements of new stadium deal
By Risa Polansky and Lou Ortiz
City of Miami taxpayers appear off the hook for $98 million of a previously required $121 million contribution to a Marlins baseball stadium — but stand now to lose $88 million in tourist and convention development taxes to balance the new deal.
In total, the city is to end up contributing $205 million toward stadium development. Also, the deal proposes the city pay $250,000 a year toward upkeep of the stadium for the 35-year life of the agreement. Significantly more would be contributed each year by the county and the Marlins toward upkeep, according to the agreement.
The most recent draft agreement requires the city to pay $23 million toward construction of a stadium at the Orange Bowl site, including $10 million to demolish the stadium, a total $98 million less than called for in a previous draft.
But the $23 million highlighted in the new agreement does not include the $88 million in Miami tourist and convention taxes the county plans to keep and use to fund part of its $347 million share of the stadium project.
The money had been earmarked for visitor promotion uses within city limits until the governments' "global agreement," signed in December, stipulated the county retain it as stadium funding.
The $94 million required to build a 6,000-space parking garage is tacked on as a separate additional cost to the city.
City Manager Pete Hernandez and Miami Mayor Manny Diaz would not comment on the deal.
Nor will any other city staffers, a spokesperson said, until it is goes before commissioners today (2/21).
Revenues from parking at the site are to benefit the team, though it is to rent 5,750 of the spots from the city for every home game. The other 250 will be theirs for free.
The money is to be used to cover debt service on the garage, and maintain a one-year reserve for debt payment, according to the agreement.
The Marlins are to pay the city about $10 per spot per game for the first five years, generating more than $4.6 million a year for the city.
The price goes up every year after that, to about $12.50 by year 31.
The baseball team is to hold exclusive use of the city parking for all Major League Baseball events, though a soccer stadium is also planned for the site, and the seasons for the professional sports do overlap.
On the county side, the final agreement differs in many respects from the preliminary draft agreed to by all parties — the county, city, team and Major League Baseball — in December.
Not only has Miami-Dade increased the amount it will contribute to construction of the 37,000-seat, retractable roof ballpark — from $249 million to $347 million — but the county will also pay $4.4 million in building material sales taxes if the state doesn't waive the levies.
If the fees are not waived, the city and the county have pledged to try to seek state rebates for the taxes "or other available state funding to defray costs related to the baseball stadium project," according to the contract.
The county has agreed to reduce the team's upfront costs from $155 million to $120 million, with Miami-Dade issuing bonds for $35 million and allowing the Marlins to pay it back through annual lease payments of $2.3 million.
In return for the concession, the team will contribute $750,000 annually toward the stadium's capital reserve fund, up $250,000 from the old agreement, each year for 35 years.
But the county will also contribute $750,000 — also up $250,000 a year from the previous deal — to the capital budget, while the city will contribute $250,000 annually. Initially, all three entities were expected to give $500,000 a year toward the fund.
The agreement contemplates creating a Community Development District to develop, finance, operate, manage and maintain some infrastructure, public improvements and community facilities within the site.
It would also provide funding to the capital reserve fund beginning the 11th year, provided the district is established and is generating revenue.
The contract doesn't mention what expenses Miami-Dade and the city will incur for roads and other infrastructure improvements once the Orange Bowl is demolished and cleared.
In the proposed final deal, Miami-Dade and the city will each get the ballpark for eight community events a year.
The team is also making available one of the 60 suites at the stadium for public officials and their guests, but eliminating a perk calling for an additional 22 box seat tickets for each home game.