Stadium News - Sort of

There is good news and bad news on the stadium front.

First the good news.

The Florida Marlins are confident they can build a new 37,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof, 300 club seats and 60 suites for $389.4 million, documents show.

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Under the agreement, the Marlins would keep proceeds from the naming rights to the new ballpark, and construction materials used to build the stadium -- totaling $525 million ...

In other words, Home of the Whopper!

The article goes on.

"The team has determined that the baseball stadium can be completed within the stadium project budget," the agreement says. But the preliminary contract stipulates that the Marlins would be bound to pay costs "that exceed the stadium project budget" of $525 million.

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The county, which would own the stadium, is to contribute $249 million, Miami $121 million and the Marlins $155 million. Although its costs could be greater, the team would be required to set aside $20 million for cost overruns and any claims that resulted from building the stadium.

As expected the Marlins will handle the cost overruns.  But it isn't clear what will happen should the overruns be over $20 million, which could easily be the case.

I'm now taking stuff out of order.

The preliminary agreement also requires Miami to raze the Orange Bowl, clear debris and conduct an environmental impact study by March 31 -- all at city expense -- and turn over the deed to the land to the county by May 31.

With the completion date of

The preliminary contract states that "reasonable efforts" would be made to complete construction by opening day on April 1, 2011.

Then there is this:

The Florida Marlins want $4.4 million in sales tax exemptions and waivers on $1.7 million in local impact fees to help lower their share of costs in building a $525 million baseball stadium.
   The Marlins also want the City of Miami or Miami-Dade County to provide the team with at least 3,000 square feet of office space within 2 miles of the Orange Bowl that the team can use for marketing work. The space must be provided within six months of a permanent contract among all three entities.

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The team wants the state to exempt construction materials from its sales tax, which would save $4.4 million, and another $1.7 million in waivers from city and county impact fees.
   The sales tax waiver would need an OK from the Legislature, which is looking to cut this year's budget $1 billion.
   On Tuesday, county Mayor Carlos Alvarez said the Marlins contract could be done by Friday.

I've got news for the county, city and the team, there ain't no way the state is going to approve a tax waiver.  Especially given the economic downturn.  The three can approve whatever they want, but that doesn't mean the state will go along with it.  I hope if a waiver from state doesn't happen, and it won't, it isn't a deal killer. Surely it wouldn't be.

Along with this:

The Marlins also want the City of Miami or Miami-Dade County to provide the team with at least 3,000 square feet of office space within 2 miles of the Orange Bowl that the team can use for marketing work. The space must be provided within six months of a permanent contract among all three entities.

The above shouldn't be a problem.

Now the bad news.

Luxury auto dealer Norman Braman filed a legal challenge Wednesday to a plan to fund $3 billion worth of projects in the city of Miami, including a Marlins ballpark at the site of the Orange Bowl.

Braman's lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court claims the county's decision to move $50 million in general obligation bond funding approved by voters in 2004 to renovate the Orange Bowl to the ballpark project violates the state constitution. It also says changing the source of repayment of bonds on the performing arts center to free up dollars for the ballpark breaches the contract with bondholders, which include Braman.

The suit also takes aim at County Manager George Burgess for negotiating on behalf of the county commission the overall plan forged between the county and Miami last month -- and one to fund the stadium -- in private in violation of public records law.

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Braman, who is planning additional challenges to the plan, said taxpayers have been denied access to negotiations and a say in the use of taxpayer dollars for the Marlins.

It is entirely possible that Braman's lawsuits could cause a delay.

Oh, if you are thinking about purchasing a car, may I suggest Maroone.

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