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Plan revealed for new Marlins ballpark in downtown Miami

BasesLoadedWalk

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

Plan revealed for new Marlins ballpark in downtown Miami

By Sarah Talalay
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted February 28 2007

Miami-Dade County and city of Miami officials unveiled on Tuesday the framework of a financing plan for a $490 million downtown Miami ballpark for the Florida Marlins and said they hope to work out the details by the end of April.

The plan calls for a retractable-roof ballpark with 37,000 seats and 60 suites to be built on nine acres of county- and city-owned land just north of the county government center north of Northwest Second Street, east of Interstate 95 and just west of the Metrorail, a few blocks southwest of Miami Arena.

According to memos issued by Miami-Dade County Manager George Burgess and Miami City Manager Pete Hernandez, the financing calls for the Marlins to contribute $207 million -- $45 million up front and the rest in future rent payments to the county, which will issue the bonds. The Marlins would also be responsible for cost overruns.

The county would pitch in $145 million in county hotel bed and sports facilities taxes; the city would provide $108 million in Tourist Development Taxes and hotel bed taxes freed up when Miami Arena was sold in 2004.

For the remainder, the county will issue bonds against a $60 million state sales tax rebate, which will generate about $30 million.

Although the deal is far from complete and includes hurdles such as finding an alternate location for the county's planned Children's Courthouse and securing state funding, which has eluded the Marlins and South Florida officials five times in the past seven years, county officials said a deal is closer than ever.

"This is the year," Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez said. "We either have a deal or we don't. It's very close and I'm very optimistic."

The County Commission is scheduled to discuss the plan at its meeting on Tuesday; the City Commission might also discuss it on March 8.

Officials are also optimistic this will be the year the state provides the sales-tax rebate. Last week, a state Senate panel passed two bills that would provide the rebate. A separate bill under consideration in the Legislature would provide the rebate to all nine professional sports franchises in the state.

If a deal can be reached, officials hope construction can begin in May 2008, with completion planned for April 2011. The Marlins' one-year lease options at Dolphin Stadium run through the 2010 season.

The Marlins declined to comment.

"I've never seen us closer to something that should make good sense for everybody," said Burgess, who has been involved in ballpark talks for nearly seven years.

He praised the urban location for its proximity to the expressways and public transportation. The memos show more than 7,000 public parking spaces are within five-eighths of a mile of the location.

County Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz says he would have preferred a location earlier contemplated in Hialeah, but says he supports the new plan, particularly since Major League Baseball, which has been heavily involved in negotiations, prefers the downtown location.
 

BroncoBob27

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Sounds great for you people in Dade, and particularly South Dade. Parking problems and time/distance takes PBC and most of Broward County right out of the season ticket plans. We will keep ours through the 2011 season but we will be giving most of those away. We haven't stuck with our plan this long to be excluded from the inaugural year. But after that we become like most Dade residents are now. 5-10 games a year, if that much.
 

JetsMania

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Sounds great for you people in Dade, and particularly South Dade. Parking problems and time/distance takes PBC and most of Broward County right out of the season ticket plans. We will keep ours through the 2011 season but we will be giving most of those away. We haven't stuck with our plan this long to be excluded from the inaugural year. But after that we become like most Dade residents are now. 5-10 games a year, if that much.

You could always get the saturday pack or weekend pack. Anyone from broward who works in downtown could also keep their tickets. I am sure alot of PBC and Broward people will downgrade or cancel their tickets. However niether of those counties wanted to help pay for the stadium so I cant feel bad for anyone.



I haven't been on the tri-rail before, but does that go to downtown?
 

SoFlaFish

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I haven't been on the tri-rail before, but does that go to downtown?

Tri-Rail doesn't go to downtown Miami yet. SFRTA has been working in acquiring the rights to the FEC line which would bring a second Tri-Rail line right to all three "downtowns" in South Florida. However, the costs for that acquisition were astronomical three years (over $1,000,000,000.00, yes that's billion!) ago when I sat down with the SFRTA Chair while negotiating development rights for future transit residential villages. As for today, just take the Tri-Rail to the Metrorail transfer station, then get on the Metrorail to the Government Center Metrorail station, which will attached, if not incorporated, to the new stadium. I would hope that SFRTA would consider expanding Tri-Rail service during weeknight games to accommodate those that wish to ride the trains to the games (even offering discounted fares to ticket holders). That's what the T does in Massachusetts.

Sounds great for you people in Dade, and particularly South Dade. Parking problems and time/distance takes PBC and most of Broward County right out of the season ticket plans. We will keep ours through the 2011 season but we will be giving most of those away. We haven't stuck with our plan this long to be excluded from the inaugural year. But after that we become like most Dade residents are now. 5-10 games a year, if that much.

Don't be too hard on yourself, the location is not that bad for those of us in Central Palm Beach County. As you have probably taken from our past "conversations", we're practically neighbors (I'm in Winston Trails, remember?). The location of the new ballpark, believe it or not, will be more accessible to me than Dolphin Stadium (and cheaper to get to).

How? Here's how:

I attend the majority of Marlins games with my father who lives in Miami (he actually lives in Doral) along with my son. Right now, I usually drive the Turnpike (Boynton Beach Blvd. exit) south to the Sawgrass/I-75, then south on that to the Turnpike Ext. in Miami-Dade to get to my folks house, then to Dolphin Stadium. Sure, if I don't pick up my dad (or I pick him up sometimes at the Hollywood Amtrak/Tri-Rail station), I go right to the stadium on the Turnpike. But with the new location, I simply just drive down to the Doral area to get my dad and then we'll simply ride the Metrorail from the Palmetto Station to the Government Center Station. No traffic hassles downtown, no parking to pay downtown. And then, after the game, just hop on the Metrorail to go right back west to Doral.

When it comes to baseball, public transportation is always the way to go. That's how I attended games at Fenway when I lived in Sommerville, MA and worked in downtown Boston (ah, the memories of the Green Line to Kenmore Square!); same for when I lived in Montreal (took the STCUM Metro "Green Line" (Angrignon/Honor?-Beaugrand) from the Guy/Concoridia station to the Pie IX station which was attached to Stade Olympique) and attended Expos games.
 

FreshFish

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this location is not to bad for me either. I'm in Weston and I recently drove to the Miami downtown area to attend a concert at the Performing arts. I used a similar route as I would have if I was attending a game (with similar time as well, event starting 7 or 7:30)

It was an easy drive, and it probably added 10-15 minutes total to my usual DS stadium drive.
 

JetsMania

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this location is not to bad for me either. I'm in Weston and I recently drove to the Miami downtown area to attend a concert at the Performing arts. I used a similar route as I would have if I was attending a game (with similar time as well, event starting 7 or 7:30)

It was an easy drive, and it probably added 10-15 minutes total to my usual DS stadium drive.

I am sure most people would trade 10-15 min to their ride for a stable payroll and good size crowds.
 

CapeFish

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My parents, both former county employees, heard about this yesterday on the news and were happy at least to see some progress noted publicly.

My dad is licking his chops waiting for the day he can go see a game in a real ballpark......he was even making plans as to where to park. We'll have to pick a MetroRail station....the new Palmetto one looks good for our purpose.

That said, my mom still doesn't like downtown. But then again, she worked at the Government Center back in the late 80's when it was a very bad place.
 

TSwift25

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That's still a really really small site to put something with this (potentially) draw power on.

And, I think the only thing that'd make me give up my seats is that they either price them ridiculously in the new ballpark relative to the talent on the field or Loria has the gall to still cry poor and trade Miggy.

Also, any idea if they're still going to build that small garage for season ticket holders?

this location is not to bad for me either. I'm in Weston and I recently drove to the Miami downtown area to attend a concert at the Performing arts. I used a similar route as I would have if I was attending a game (with similar time as well, event starting 7 or 7:30)

It was an easy drive, and it probably added 10-15 minutes total to my usual DS stadium drive.

I am sure most people would trade 10-15 min to their ride for a stable payroll and good size crowds.

Yes, but this is Miami...and Loria :whistle
 

CapeFish

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The HEAT have a private garage, I would think that the Marlins would be able to use County/City employee lots/garages for that purpose.
 

JetsMania

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That's still a really really small site to put something with this (potentially) draw power on.

And, I think the only thing that'd make me give up my seats is that they either price them ridiculously in the new ballpark relative to the talent on the field or Loria has the gall to still cry poor and trade Miggy.

Also, any idea if they're still going to build that small garage for season ticket holders?

this location is not to bad for me either. I'm in Weston and I recently drove to the Miami downtown area to attend a concert at the Performing arts. I used a similar route as I would have if I was attending a game (with similar time as well, event starting 7 or 7:30)

It was an easy drive, and it probably added 10-15 minutes total to my usual DS stadium drive.

I am sure most people would trade 10-15 min to their ride for a stable payroll and good size crowds.

Yes, but this is Miami...and Loria :whistle

True. The bright side is that the marlins upfront contribution is only about 45 million dollars. Thats basically two years of hand outs from revenue sharing. Lets see what they can do. They would probably have to backload some of these contracts so that the players would get paid more when the new stadium is in use. Hopefully thats what they do with cabrera.
 

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