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Marlins at the OB?

fauowls44

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http://www.miamiherald.com/460/story/33631.html
STADIUM FOR FLORIDA MARLINS
Marlins stadium deal suffers setback
County commissioners prefer an Orange Bowl site over one in downtown Miami for a Florida Marlins stadium.
By CHARLES RABIN
crabin@MiamiHerald.com
A proposal to build a new stadium for the Florida Marlins on public land downtown drew a cheering section from Major League Baseball to County Hall on Tuesday, but it ran into strong opposition from the Miami-Dade County Commission.

Citing concerns that the nine-acre site was too small, that it wouldn't re-energize the area and that it would rely on community redevelopment money that should be spent elsewhere, eight of the 13 commissioners spoke against the proposal.

Instead, they united around a different site: the Orange Bowl in Little Havana, which is owned by the city of Miami. In the end, Commissioner Jos? ''Pepe'' Diaz agreed to change a funding plan so that it would not be ``site specific.''

Commissioners then voted 11-1 to send that plan to Tallahassee, in hopes that the state Legislature will vote to fill in a $30 million gap in the $490 million stadium project. Commissioner Katy Sorenson voted against it. Commissioner Javier Souto was absent.

''I think what's important at the end of the day is that baseball stays,'' Diaz said before the vote.

Diaz's original proposal, outlined in a plan released by County Manager George Burgess last week, centered on a nine-acre piece of public land that is adjacent to, and north of, downtown Miami's Government Center. A children's courthouse, which legal observers say is much needed, had been proposed for the property.

On a day when executives from Major League Baseball were in attendance to voice support for the downtown site, it was clear a majority of the commission did not share their view.

MLB Executive Vice President John McHale left the chamber after the vote without commenting about the amended plan.

Chief Circuit Court Judge Joseph Farina had implored commissioners to keep their eye on the ball when it came to the children's courthouse. He didn't want delays or an unacceptable site that would cost more money. ''I just hope I'm not wrong in keeping the faith with you,'' he said.

The turnabout was d?j? vu for county commissioners: Almost a year ago a plan to build the Marlins a ballpark next to the Orange Bowl failed in Tallahassee as the session ended without legislators addressing a bill.

This time, though, the issue is slightly more sensitive -- and the commissioners' support for the Orange Bowl site may mean that the Marlins' hopes for a new stadium would rest on whether the University of Miami moves its football games to Dolphin Stadium.

Last week, UM and Miami Dolphins officials said the university was exploring a possible relocation to the North Miami-Dade stadium. The school wants the city to upgrade the decaying Orange Bowl. The university is expected to make a decision within two months.

Miami City Manager Pete Hernandez now must find a way to gingerly maintain negotiations with the university, and at the same time try to convince Miami city commissioners that the Orange Bowl site would be a great place for the Marlins.

''We have to be very cautious right now,'' Hernandez said. ``We're very engaged in talking with the university.''

Hernandez said he wasn't sure the funding plan would hold up at the Orange Bowl site. The plan for the downtown site had called for the city to contribute about $108 million -- most of it in tourist tax dollars -- and up to $15 million in community redevelopment money, he told county commissioners.

The county would chip in $307 million -- though the Marlins would repay $162 million of that in rent. The team would put in $45 million of its own. Almost all the county money comes from tourist tax dollars.

Tuesday's fireworks began when County Commissioner Joe Martinez reeled off a list of complaints about the downtown site. The commissioner even doubted if the Marlins would be able to sell beer because of the site's proximity to a charter school.

''Let's hope and pray the Hurricanes do move . . . and let's put the Marlins where they belong, at the Orange Bowl,'' Martinez said.

Similar arguments followed from Commissioners Carlos Gimenez, Sally Heyman, Audrey Edmonson, Natacha Seijas, Sorenson, Dorrin Rolle and Barbara Jordan.

Jordan said she couldn't support a site that would be paid for with community redevelopment money.

Burgess' statement that ''I see it frankly as a future benefit,'' elicited a sharp response from the commissioner.

''I'm sure you do, George,'' Jordan said.

Sensing the votes were not there for the downtown site, Commission Chairman Bruno Barreiro suggested changing the funding plan to be non-site-specific. Diaz complied.

At least one lawmaker said the change won't matter in Tallahassee.

''It's not about location, location, location. I've always said the legislation is not site specific. This legislation is just about the rebate itself,'' Sen. Rudy Garcia, R-Hialeah, said about getting money from the state.

Miami Herald staff writer Marc Caputo contributed to this report.
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Here is the Sun Sentinel's take on yesterday's developments....

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/mia...sfla-news-miami

Miami-Dade Commissioners push for Marlins at Orange Bowl

By Sarah Talalay
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted March 7 2007


Several Miami-Dade County commissioners strongly opposed on Tuesday building a ballpark for the Florida Marlins north of the county government center and instead suggested the Orange Bowl location, if the University of Miami moves its football games to Dolphin Stadium.

After raising concerns about the size of the nine-acre site east of I-95 and just west of Metrorail and that it would mean securing a new spot for a planned Children's Courthouse, commissioners voted 11-1 to pursue a $490 million plan to finance a ballpark on a site to be determined.

The Orange Bowl in Little Havana will be added to the list of potential locations since the city of Miami has not yet nailed down financing to renovate the aging stadium and the Hurricanes are seriously considering a move to Dolphin Stadium.

County officials hope to present a more detailed financing plan to commissioners by the end of April.

"Let's hope and pray the Hurricanes do move to Dolphin Stadium and put the Marlins at the Orange Bowl," County Commissioner Joe Martinez said.

Miami City Manager Pete Hernandez said he needs 45 days to determine if the funds can be raised for a $170 million Orange Bowl renovation. The city has $84 million, including $50 million from a county bond issue voters approved in 2004 and funds that were freed up when Miami Arena was sold.

"We have to be very cautious right now because we are very engaged in talking to the university," Hernandez said. "We are still working with the University of Miami to find a viable plan."

The city has been hoping to conduct a major upgrade of the 71-year-old Orange Bowl, including adding a replay scoreboard and improving restrooms and seating areas, but has yet to determine how to fund the project. The city is exploring other sources of revenue.

UM President Donna Shalala said last week that she needs to see the final project numbers and she hopes to make a decision by late April or early May. Sources have said Dolphin Stadium can offer UM a significantly more lucrative lease arrangement than the university has at the Orange Bowl, including being allowed to keep some or most concession and parking revenue.

If the Orange Bowl renovation is abandoned, it is possible the $50 million approved by voters could be directed toward a Marlins ballpark since the bond issue was for parks and recreational facilities, but only if a public hearing is held to consider the switch, said Assistant County Attorney Gerry Heffernan.

"It could be modified with a public hearing before the commission," Heffernan said. "The board [of county commissioners] can decide to reallocate it ? but it has to be done in a public hearing."

Hernandez said he expects the city commission to adopt a similar resolution to the one approved by county commissioners Tuesday that does not specify a location for a Marlins ballpark.

"We were encouraged the county commission overwhelmingly approved the financial structure for building a new stadium. We were surprised at the discussion regarding alternative sites," Major League Baseball President Bob DuPuy said. "Our primary objective, however, remains to keep the Marlins in South Florida."

The Marlins declined to comment.

Miami City Commissioners are scheduled Thursday to discuss the ballpark plan, which calls for the Marlins to contribute $207 million mainly in rent payments and to cover cost overruns. The county, which would issue the bonds and own the 37,000-seat retractable roof stadium, would chip in $145 million in hotel bed taxes; the city would contribute $108 million in hotel bed and tourist development taxes. The county, city and Marlins are hoping the state will approve a $60 million state sales tax rebate, to cover the remainder.

Bills that would provide the rebate, which is paid out at $2 million a year for 30 years, are making their way through the Legislature.

County commissioners expressed some concern the Legislature might not approve the sales tax rebate with the location undetermined. But County Manager George Burgess said he thought support from the city and county commissions for the financing framework would be enough.

"They want to know not only are the local government folks supportive, but do they have a strategy in place," Burgess said.

Commissioners also insisted for the downtown location to work, a new site must be found for a Children's Courthouse. Chief Judge Joseph Farina told commissioners he was not taking a position on a ballpark next to the county government center, but wanted to ensure a solution is found so that a courthouse is not further delayed.

Commissioners also stressed the Marlins, not the public, be responsible for cost overruns, which was assured by John McHale, MLB Executive Vice President of Administration, who attended the commission meeting. Several commissioners also questioned any use of property taxes generated in the Community Redevelopment Agency district near the ballpark to finance the ballpark -- an idea that is being contemplated, but is not yet part of the financing plan.

Commissioners Barbara Jordan and Audrey Edmonson said they didn't want a ballpark so close to Overtown.

"I cannot support the site we have here," Edmonson said. "In Overtown, I'm looking for revitalization, not gentrification and that's exactly what will occur if this happens.'

Martinez and Commissioner Carlos Gimenez wondered how a stadium for the Marlins could fit on only nine acres after earlier proposals had called for as many as 35 acres.

Gimenez said he likes the urban location of the county government center, but he thinks the Orange Bowl proposal has merit.

"If the Orange Bowl site becomes available, and more money becomes available, we need to look at that site," Gimenez said.

Sarah Talalay can be reached at stalalay@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4173.
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The thing that they didn't answer is exactly what happens if the Hurricanes don't move to Dolphin Stadium? Is it back to Hialeah? I don't get it. At least they passed the plan.
 

Eddie Altamonte

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Here come the politicos once again trying to screw up a wet dream...surprise, surprise :banghead
 

MarlinatPenn

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I'd hate to see them knock down the OB.. so much history there

I am concerned if the Government Center site is too small though.
 

Fishfan79

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I love the OB, I remember going to dolphins and canes games since the early 80s (and went to them before then not remembering because I was too small). But, blew it the Heck up if it gets the marlins a stadium.

I will come out there personally with a sledge hammer if it helps. I might be in tears breaking down parts (not just from the smell) but it would be worth it!


I dont think this is good news at all though, just get the dang state money and lets get something done already. damn it
 
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Is this ever going to happen? I fear my son will be hoping for a Marlins stadium after I am dead and buried.
 

FreshFish

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WOW . . .Trouble here I come.

This is crap, at this late in the game. How come MLB and the Marlins didn't bring their Architects to explain how they plan on fitting a stadium on 9 acres?
 

IrishHarrington

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i would like to know when can we expect to recieve word from the state if the rebate will be granted to the marlins ?
 

fanfish

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Best case scenario:

1st-- Canes move to Dolphin Stadium
2nd--Orange Bowl is demolished (or we let it collapse by itself)
3rd--New Marlins Stadium is built at OB site. With the OB gone there will be plenty of parking if they acquire the land that was originally planned
4th--Metro-rail line is expanded to serve the OB site or free shuttles from the station to the stadium can be provided
5th--Tri-rail is connected to the Metro-rail system to service the Broward and PBC fans. (this is already planned at the airport area)

However, every change in plans bring delays and new problems to solve. Any new problem is a possible deal breaker. I am very concerned about any changes in the plans for this reason.
 

Flamarlins3

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Bah...can you imagine the disaster of a field that Dolphin stadium would be from the time the OB was blown up until the time the Marlins' stadium was finished.

3 teams on one field? Good lord...

Was just a matter of time before someone stepped in and started screwing this deal up. There's no way to expand the 9 acre site? (I don't know the area well so I have no idea what's around it)
 

prinmemito

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Pedro Hernandez, the city manager, came on Joe Rose today and basically said the city's priority is the Marlins stadium. That's more important than the where Hurricanes play. I think this is going to get done.
 

fauowls44

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I love the OB, I remember going to dolphins and canes games since the early 80s (and went to them before then not remembering because I was too small). But, blew it the Heck up if it gets the marlins a stadium.

I will come out there personally with a sledge hammer if it helps. I might be in tears breaking down parts (not just from the smell) but it would be worth it!


I dont think this is good news at all though, just get the dang state money and lets get something done already. damn it

The Orange Bowl is a dump. Tear it down. Does anyone really enjoy going there? It's old, it's cramped, it's an eye sore. Is it worth spending over $100 million to renovate it for 6 UM games a season? Plus, it seems like UM would be much better off financially playing at Dolphin Stadium anyway. I'm not crazy about putting the Marlins stadium there, I'd prefer a location in downtown...or closer to my home in Palm Beach County, but i'll take it anywhere in South Florida at this point if it means never having to read about any of these damn county and city commissioners again.

Pedro Hernandez, the city manager, came on Joe Rose today and basically said the city's priority is the Marlins stadium. That's more important than the where Hurricanes play. I think this is going to get done.

Good, it should be. UM can go play at Dolphin Stadium and be far better off.
 

fanfish

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Pedro Hernandez, the city manager, came on Joe Rose today and basically said the city's priority is the Marlins stadium. That's more important than the where Hurricanes play. I think this is going to get done.

I agree that it is very important that the city considers the building of the new Marlins Stadium to be a priority. However, if the county if strongly thinking of reviving the OB site, then where the Canes play becomes a mayor factor in the process. Everyone will then be forced to wait and see what UM decides, and that will take another month....while everything is placed on hold.
 

CapeFish

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All that was done yesterday was:

1) The County Commission gave marching orders to Tallahassee.
2) The County has both the Gov't Center and Orange Bowl sites on the list.
3) The State is going to look at the rebate to the County for the Ballpark regardless of the site.
 

FreshFish

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Bah...can you imagine the disaster of a field that Dolphin stadium would be from the time the OB was blown up until the time the Marlins' stadium was finished.

3 teams on one field? Good lord...

Was just a matter of time before someone stepped in and started screwing this deal up. There's no way to expand the 9 acre site? (I don't know the area well so I have no idea what's around it)

it is just adding 6 games a year
 

anotherrealfan

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Pedro Hernandez, the city manager, came on Joe Rose today and basically said the city's priority is the Marlins stadium. That's more important than the where Hurricanes play. I think this is going to get done.

I agree that it is very important that the city considers the building of the new Marlins Stadium to be a priority. However, if the county if strongly thinking of reviving the OB site, then where the Canes play becomes a mayor factor in the process. Everyone will then be forced to wait and see what UM decides, and that will take another month....while everything is placed on hold.

First, I just want the stadium for the Marlins. It would be better downtown than at the OB because of the built in benefit of having all those people who work downtown being able to just go the weekday night games. I think the city manager was just saying all the right things about the partnership and many years with the "U", but, my take, is the city would be just as happy to say good bye to the 7 dates a year and not deal with a football stadium and replace it with 81 revenue earning dates. They seem to really want just a marlins stadium at the OB site.

It will get interesting because I do not think Loria wants the OB site, nor does mlb, and their plan might be to let Samson loose again on the public if the OB is the choice. Thus, all deals are off when Triatholon man is free to make doo doo in public.
 

yandro

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Sensing the votes were not there for the downtown site, Commission Chairman Bruno Barreiro suggested changing the funding plan to be non-site-specific. Diaz complied.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the sales tax rebate awarded to the building instead of the team? Or did they change it and now will be awarded to the Marlins, no matter where they play?
 

BasesLoadedWalk

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Sensing the votes were not there for the downtown site, Commission Chairman Bruno Barreiro suggested changing the funding plan to be non-site-specific. Diaz complied.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the sales tax rebate awarded to the building instead of the team? Or did they change it and now will be awarded to the Marlins, no matter where they play?

That part at least is not changed. It will still be the building and not the club.

I've learned to not get emotional either way. Perhaps we'll hear of yet another different plan by month's end. ;)

You know, why haven't they looked at the area between I-195 and I-395? At least it would be close to the waterfront, even if it's not the best neighborhood.

In a way, I could see some validity to the OB idea, in that I could see why some in city government would question the viability of having an extra football venue in the metropolitan area in the long run, since the Dolphins aren't moving back in anytime soon.

On the other hand, where would the immigrant soccer matches go? :whistle
 

TheDon

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Sensing the votes were not there for the downtown site, Commission Chairman Bruno Barreiro suggested changing the funding plan to be non-site-specific. Diaz complied.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the sales tax rebate awarded to the building instead of the team? Or did they change it and now will be awarded to the Marlins, no matter where they play?

That part at least is not changed. It will still be the building and not the club.

I've learned to not get emotional either way. Perhaps we'll hear of yet another different plan by month's end. ;)

You know, why haven't they looked at the area between I-195 and I-395? At least it would be close to the waterfront, even if it's not the best neighborhood.

In a way, I could see some validity to the OB idea, in that I could see why some in city government would question the viability of having an extra football venue in the metropolitan area in the long run, since the Dolphins aren't moving back in anytime soon.

On the other hand, where would the immigrant soccer matches go? :whistle




That's borderline inappropriate. CONCACAF is having a big match there in June. Canada and Costa Rica.
 

pierremvp1

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Sensing the votes were not there for the downtown site, Commission Chairman Bruno Barreiro suggested changing the funding plan to be non-site-specific. Diaz complied.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the sales tax rebate awarded to the building instead of the team? Or did they change it and now will be awarded to the Marlins, no matter where they play?

That part at least is not changed. It will still be the building and not the club.

I've learned to not get emotional either way. Perhaps we'll hear of yet another different plan by month's end. ;)

You know, why haven't they looked at the area between I-195 and I-395? At least it would be close to the waterfront, even if it's not the best neighborhood.

In a way, I could see some validity to the OB idea, in that I could see why some in city government would question the viability of having an extra football venue in the metropolitan area in the long run, since the Dolphins aren't moving back in anytime soon.

On the other hand, where would the immigrant soccer matches go? :whistle




That's borderline inappropriate. CONCACAF is having a big match there in June. Canada and Costa Rica.
I was thinking te same thing. That last line is more than borderline inappropriate. But I don't call on a mod to remove it. I just reply to the poster to let him/her know that it diminishes the rest of the post.
 

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