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http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/16412944.htm

 

Marlins stadium plan would use CRA fundsBY CHARLES RABIN, MATTHEW HAGGMAN AND MICHAEL VASQUEZ

[email protected]

The latest plan to build the cash-strapped Florida Marlins a new stadium in downtown Miami involves using millions of dollars of money meant to improve blighted neighborhoods.

 

It also calls for the city of Miami to deed property to Miami-Dade County so the Marlins -- which would lease the stadium -- could receive a tax break. And it requires money, once again, from the state Legislature.

 

''They're looking at the Park West/Overtown CRA boundary that stops a block from where the site is,'' said Miami-Dade tax collector Ian Yorty, the county's point man for stadium negotiations. ``The city has plans to expand the boundary.''

 

Money from a Community Redevelopment Agency, by law, must be used to spur economic development in ''blighted'' neighborhoods. Tax money created from a CRA stays inside the district.

 

Word of the new stadium plan infuriated some community members, such as Overtown's Irby McKnight, who said the CRA has yet to build a single home in Overtown.

 

''I'm just looking at this in amazement,'' he said. ``We'll remember this on Election Day.''

 

Miami Commissioner and CRA Chairwoman Michelle Spence-Jones declined to comment.

 

But Miami Mayor Manny Diaz described using CRA money to build a new ballpark as money well spent. He believes a baseball stadium would anchor redevelopment on the downtown's western flank, much like the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, which receives $1.43 million yearly from the CRA, has spurred development on the city's eastern edge.

 

''I think it will bring a tremendous number of jobs, both directly and indirectly, and create substantial economic activity that will benefit the district,'' Diaz said.

 

Far from a done deal, Marlins executives and Major League Baseball are undertaking a new study to determine updated costs to build on a nine-acre plot of land just north of the Stephen P. Clark Center.

 

The site between Interstate 95 and Biscayne Boulevard and just north of Northeast Third Street is owned by the city and the county. The plan is for the city to deed its part of the property to the county, so it can lease it to the Marlins with tax exemptions.

 

Marlins representatives would not comment on the new plans. But officials say they are more hopeful than ever because, this time, Major League Baseball is front and center in the negotiations.

 

Bob Dupuy, Major League Baseball's president and chief operating officer, told MLB.com Sunday night that ``Our highest priority this winter is to get a ballpark deal done in Miami.''

 

Even with money from Miami's Community Redevelopment Agency, the new plan still requires cash infusions from the city, the county and the state Legislature.

 

The goal is to have a plan in place to pass along to city and county commissioners before the legislative session begins in March.

 

The state Legislature has never been kind to the Marlins, who, despite winning two World Series in the past decade, boast the National League's lowest attendance and baseball's lowest payroll.

 

John Henry, who now owns the Boston Red Sox, gave up on the club in 2002 after state legislators, in the waning moments of two sessions, failed to act on bills that would have closed a funding gap enough to build a ballpark.

 

Still, Miami state Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera said Monday he will sponsor a bill this year to provide a $60 million subsidy for the stadium project. He said he's ''cautiously optimistic'' that the request will pass.

 

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, like Henry before him, says he's stuck in a no-win lease agreement at Dolphin Stadium, where most concession revenues go to ballpark owner and Miami Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga.

 

The club and Major League Baseball also insist that a retractable roof is needed so fans aren't scared away from the stadium during the region's late-afternoon summer thunderstorms.

 

No one on Monday, though, was willing to discuss the necessary financing. Yorty said that until the team and MLB come forward with new numbers, it would be premature to address costs.

 

The most recent figure tossed around was $420 million to build next to the Orange Bowl -- but that plan fizzled in September 2005 when the city, the county and the Marlins parted ways after the Legislature failed to fill a $30 million shortfall.

 

Back then, the parties planned on using several sources to pay for a 38,000-seat retractable-roof stadium: $138 million from the county, $28 million from Miami, $32 million from parking revenues, and $192 million from the Marlins.

 

The Marlins would not have actually put up that much money. The plan called for the county to bond out most of it through hotel bed tax dollars, and to be repaid by the Marlins yearly, mainly through gate receipts.

 

When that plan failed, Loria traded several of the team's best players and cut the payroll to $15 million. The New York Yankees, in contrast, have a payroll that annually hovers around $200 million.

 

Diaz vows to trudge on.

 

''This is a priority for me. It always has been. We all have a will to get the deal done and are working very hard,'' he said.

 

Miami Herald staff writers Barry Jackson and Marc Caputo contributed to this report.

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Then again, the Herald doesn't have a great rep at this board, to begin with. :whistle

 

Well, this looks to be a controversial idea if that is what it really is. BTW, the MLB.com article did have a line that said "...would be located in a redevelopment district just miles(sic) inland from the American Airlines Arena..." I guess this is what they meant by that.

 

I'm not sure how CRA's exactly work but here's a map of two of them provided by the City of Miami: http://www.ci.miami.fl.us/cra/files/Maps/CRA%20MAP.pdf

 

The Carnaval Center comes under a different CRA, as are areas north of I-395 up to Margaret Pace Park.

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Wow. It makes you feel like Manny Diaz dictated this story himself and is still turning the knife in the backs of Marlins ownership. At some point DuPuy has to know it is impossible to do business with the city of Miami and start looking at other sites in the county. There's some good in this and some real value to the site although ingress and egress is non-existent except by MetroRail and Mover and I can't imagine who would be on the hook for new on and off ramps and how long eminent domain proceedings would take to gain the necessary footprint to build them.

 

But in the end, if they can get the deal done, you won't hear me complain. It is a downtown site, in fact it couldn't be more downtown. The tax credits are probably to offset the loss of parking revenue (which over 30 years is approximately 2X today's entire franchise value), a staggering number. I look forward to Sarah's take in the SS as she is usually more objective and fact based.

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"The site between Interstate 95 and Biscayne Boulevard and just north of Northeast Third Street is owned by the city and the county. The plan is for the city to deed its part of the property to the county, so it can lease it to the Marlins with tax exemptions...."

 

 

Something is wrong with this picture.

 

It can't be NE 3rd street. It's already built out with MDCC. It's even virtually impossible to assemble enough of a footprint at NW 3rd street without taking two blocks of NW 1st ave and part of NW 4th st. I was just down there today, I say (and anyone who wants to disagree feel free because this is just my opinion) there is no way that's the right address.

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"The site between Interstate 95 and Biscayne Boulevard and just north of Northeast Third Street is owned by the city and the county. The plan is for the city to deed its part of the property to the county, so it can lease it to the Marlins with tax exemptions...."

 

 

Something is wrong with this picture.

 

It can't be NE 3rd street. It's already built out with MDCC. It's even virtually impossible to assemble enough of a footprint at NW 3rd street without taking two blocks of NW 1st ave and part of NW 4th st. I was just down there today, I say (and anyone who wants to disagree feel free because this is just my opinion) there is no way that's the right address.

 

Which leads me to believe the authors of this article don't know shiat.

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BTW, the newest version on the Miami Herald's website corrects the location error I outlined above.

 

The new version refers to the location as NW 3rd st but I still don't see how they could build a park there. Something is significantly missing from this story.

 

The only feasible way that description is correct is if the assembled parcels result in what is outlined in TEAL below:

 

 

 

As I posted in another thread, the BLUE properties belong to the CITY, the RED belong to the COUNTY, the YELLOW belong to the STATE (and there is NO WAY that the State of Florida is going to be required to move their State Offices from that location -- seriously, most State Agencies are located in those three buildings: FDEP, DCA, State, DCF, DOAg, and FDOT to name a few -- I've been there on business). That would mean the demolition of City buildings and portions of the Gov't Center property and having the stadium be literally up against County Hall and the Metrorail line (seen as the GREEN LINE)! It would also meant the vacating of several rights-of-way and the redesign of downtown traffic flows (oh, the traffic studies alone can make many an engineer very wealthy!) And even then, I just still don't see it adding up to enough acreage to construct a stadium with a retractable roof. I hope I'm wrong, but I've done too many land assemblies before not to see that this is not as easy as it appears. By the way, the CRA is about two blocks north of the northern TEAL boundary line, and the CRA owns two parcels just north of this site, but between this site and the CRA parcels is the USPS facility, and that is Federal land.

 

Maybe it's time to hit up my "source" (I hate using that term, but I really don't like to divulge any possible hint as to who he is) for some insight, even though the last time I spoke with him he told me that MLB had taken over the whole thing and he was kept out of the loop.

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What about parking there? there would be like none.

 

They're probably counting on all the FEC lots that are to the east of the property and run north under the Metrorail line up to the Miami Arena (seen in PINK in the map above). Then you have the Arena parking which is two blocks north. Most of the other off-site parking will be throughout downtown and then accessible to the park via the MetroMover and Metrorail since it looks like the Government Center Metrorail station is going to be right up against the ballpark.

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Well the building between N.W. 2nd and N.W 3rd Street houses the Miami-Dade Parks and Rec Dept. The county is just finshing up a new government building just west of the old arena. Maybe and this is just a maybe, the employees from this building will move to the new building and this structure is no longer needed.

Now, as for the building bounded by I-95 and N.W 3rd Street, that's a school. I really don't see that being demolished.

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BTW, the newest version on the Miami Herald's website corrects the location error I outlined above.

 

The new version refers to the location as NW 3rd st but I still don't see how they could build a park there. Something is significantly missing from this story.

 

The only feasible way that description is correct is if the assembled parcels result in what is outlined in teal below:

 

 

 

That would mean the demolition of City buildings and portions of the Gov't Center property and having the stadium be literally up against County Hall and the Metrorail line (seen as the GREEN LINE)! And even then, I just still don't see it adding up!

 

Maybe it's time to hit up my "source" (I hate using that term, but I really don't like to divulge any possible hint as to who he is) for some insight, even though the last time I spoke with him he told me that MLB had taken over the whole thing and he was kept out of the loop.

 

I took them as it literally being north of NW 3rd St but then again if they confused NE and NW they could have more wrong as well. While the area you've outlined theoretically works it's incredibly problematic and results in numerous road closures. Can you really build a modern day MLB stadium on this site and even if you could, would you?

 

I'm wondering out loud if a) the Herald simply has the story almost completely wrong (they already screwed up the address) or b) whether this is a diversion of some sort while negotiations go on privately elsewhere in the area.

 

What about parking there? there would be like none.

 

They're probably counting on all the FEC lots that are to the east of the property and run north under the Metrorail line up to the Miami Arena (seen in PINK in the map above). Then you have the Arena parking which is two blocks north. Most of the other off-site parking will be throughout downtown and then accessible to the park via the MetroMover and Metrorail since it looks like the Government Center Metrorail station is going to be right up against the ballpark.

 

I also assumed they would use the area under 95 as parking as well.

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I'm wondering out loud if a) the Herald simply has the story almost completely wrong (they already screwed up the address) or b) whether this is a diversion of some sort while negotiations go on privately elsewhere in the area.

 

I hate to be a "conspiracy theorist" but your second point could make sense when you consider that every feasible parcel in the area I've outlined is owned by either the City, County, State, or FEC. Therefore, speculation in that area is minimal as the parties begin negotiating a deal elsewhere.

 

However, things in government leak like water through a strainer. I feel confident that the assemblage of properties in the area I've pointed out eliminates any eminent domain proceedings since all the properties are public. And the only way it can work is if a portion of the Government Center parcel is used in order to even get close to 15 acres, which would be the minimum threshold for a park (i.e., Safeco Field).

 

The vacating of rights-of-way is going to happen. That's what occurred in Houston with Enron Field. I pulled up the Harris County governmental information on the property and you see how many "paper rights-of-way" criss-cross the stadium parcel!

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Using Google Earth and the graphic above by SoFlaFish, I measured the Government Center site and the site and Minute Maid Park site I got these measurements.

 

MMP (approx.): 610'x920'.

 

GC site: 600'x1000'.

 

The measurements for the GC site are a bit conservative on my part. To the concerns about parking, anyone take a look at an aerial image via Google Earth and there are atleast half a dozen parking lots in the immediate vicinity.

 

I dont think MLB would waste their time and efforts if they couldnt get retractable roof ballpark on a certain site.

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You may be right.

 

I heard from someone a few minutes ago that they (MLB) are in fact positive they can site a stadium there with a collection of right of way closures and a few ruffled feathers in county hall when some people no longer have a view.

 

PhotoShop and MSPaint can be a lot of fun. I decided just to create a "visual" of what the site could be like. I cropped Minute Maid Park from Google Maps, at approximately the same scale as the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Map (+/- 10'). The purpose of this is to give an approximate visual of what the park will look like crammed/jammed into those four parcels and the right-of-way. Basically, we could potentially have the Government Center Metrorail station be incorporated into the stadium and the folks on up to maybe the sixth to tenth floor of the Stephen Clark Gov't Center having a view of the stadium walls. However, if you go higher up in County Hall, those folks will get a good view of a game, much like folks watching a game from the Prudential Center in Boston, or the CN Tower in Toronto. Maybe I should get my resume in to the County Attorney's Office :D

 

Here's what it should look like:

 

 

 

Again, the TEAL outline is what I am assuming is the assembled lots, with all of them being County property except for the far western lot abutting I-95 which belongs to the City. The SOLID YELLOW AREA is the Government Center Metrorail Station. The CROSS-HATCHED YELLOW AREA is County Hall/Stephen P. Clark Center (basically the County Commission Building and most County Departments). The SOLID GREEN LINE is the Metrorail elevated platform. The SOLID BLUE AREAS are potential parking, including all the current parking areas that are FEC lots abutting the Metrorail line, as well as the current Miami Arena parking areas and Overtown Metrorail Station parking to the north. Also included is a CRA lot that is on the north and abutting I-95. The SOLID RED AREAS are the rights-of-way that I would vacate: NW 3rd AVE, NW 1st CT, NW 2nd AVE, and NW 4th ST. Believe it, or not, the diamond in the picture is pretty much facing in the same direction as it does at Dolphin Stadium. As it is situated in my simulation, home plate faces NE, with the sun setting behind 3rd base.

 

...but talk about ramming a square peg into a round hole!

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You may be right.

 

I heard from someone a few minutes ago that they (MLB) are in fact positive they can site a stadium there with a collection of right of way closures and a few ruffled feathers in county hall when some people no longer have a view.

 

PhotoShop and MSPaint can be a lot of fun. I decided just to create a "visual" of what the site could be like. I cropped Minute Maid Park from Google Maps, at approximately the same scale as the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Map (+/- 10'). The purpose of this is to give an approximate visual of what the park will look like crammed/jammed into those four parcels and the right-of-way. Basically, we could potentially have the Government Center Metrorail station be incorporated into the stadium and the folks on up to maybe the sixth to tenth floor of the Stephen Clark Gov't Center having a view of the stadium walls. However, if you go higher up in County Hall, those folks will get a good view of a game, much like folks watching a game from the Prudential Center in Boston, or the CN Tower in Toronto. Maybe I should get my resume in to the County Attorney's Office :D

 

Here's what it could look like:

 

 

 

Again, the TEAL outline is what I am assuming is the assembled lots, with all of them being County property except for the far western lot abutting I-95 which belongs to the City. As a point of reference, I've added where the current Government Center Metrorail Station is (the area shaded yellow), as well as County Hall and the Museum of History of Southern Florida and the Main Library. And, again, the Metrorail line is GREEN. My guess is that NW 2nd Avenue will be vacated, as will NW 1st Court and, of course, NW 3 Street.

 

...but talk about ramming a square peg into a round hole!

 

 

From what I was told the biggest single problem with the site is as construction gets going they have less than one acre for staging, cranes, worksite material deliveries, concrete pumping, etc. They are going to need the lots of over by NW 1st (other side of MetroRail) to use as their main staging areas which will pretty much eliminate any surface parking in the downtown/government center area.

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From what I was told the biggest single problem with the site is as construction gets going they have less than one acre for staging, cranes, worksite material deliveries, concrete pumping, etc. They are going to need the lots of over by NW 1st (other side of MetroRail) to use as their main staging areas which will pretty much eliminate any surface parking in the downtown/government center area.

 

I wouldn't be surprised the staging will be up by the Miami Arena on the CRA lots up there. I did a project once in downtown Fort Lauderdale where our staging was 2 miles north of the project site, it wasn't much of an area we needed (just one city block), for three condos downtown.

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I would think that they'd do an eastward orientation with that site. Still, giving up a couple of government buildings (not to mention the nice landscaping at Stephen P. Clark :D ) is doubtful unless the government thinks they can find places elsewhere for their employees (or maybe they don't really expect the stadium to go there and are just going through the motions).

 

There has to be a less complicated location in the City of Miami out there available.

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