Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

bobliocatt

Marlins extend funding quest , reject Miam

Recommended Posts

Marlins extend funding quest to May 1, reject Miami's offers of sites

March 16, 2004

The Florida Marlins have extended their deadline for producing a financing plan for a new ballpark until May 1 but expressed confidence Monday they still will be able to move into a new home by April 2007.

However, the team rejected the city of Miami's offer of a site next to the Orange Bowl and a site near Miami Arena that was floated as an option, making it increasingly unlikely a stadium will be built within the city's limits.

Team President David Samson said the team will spend the next 45 days working with Miami-Dade County on a financing package and location for a $325 million, 38,000-seat ballpark with a retractable roof.

"We are open to anything and continue to be open to any site within the city or county of Miami-Dade," said Samson during a news conference in a hallway at the team's rented home, Pro Player Stadium. "We've always said the important thing is being in the region."

Samson reiterated that team owner Jeffrey Loria is committed to keeping the team in South Florida and has no intention of selling it. The team's focus is on completing a financing package that makes sense, he said.

So far, the county has pledged $73 million in convention development and sports facilities taxes toward the plan, and the Marlins have committed $137 million. That leaves the Marlins $115 million short of their goal.

Samson said the gap is narrowing, but he would not detail how or what sources would fill it. He did not rule out state funding but said the team has been focusing on searching for existing legislation that might help the team, rather than filing a new bill during this year's legislative session.

A stadium near Miami Arena would not allow the team to open a new home by 2007, and completing a stadium by then is crucial if the team is to stem its annual losses, Samson said. The city's only offer -- city-owned land just north of the Orange Bowl -- poses several problems, including the need to purchase private property for parking and to provide easy access for fans from throughout South Florida.

"It is a site that presents several difficulties, most notably displacing families who live there," Samson said.

As a result, Miami City Manager Joe Arriola said the city is finished negotiating with the team. Arriola said the Marlins told him the only way the Orange Bowl could work would be if the team reduced its contribution to a stadium deal, a proposition unacceptable to the city.

"We have nowhere else," Arriola said. "It's their call."

Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, however, was optimistic about a stadium deal being worked out in the city or elsewhere in the county.

"The county remains a willing player in this," said Penelas, who has supported a Marlins stadium for years and pushed for the county's funding pledge just days after the team won the World Series in October. "Our first priority is to keep the team here."

Although Samson said the team would be willing to consider Bicentennial Park, a site eyed for several years by previous Marlins ownership, Arriola said that area would "absolutely not" be available, since the park is already slated for art and science museums.

The Marlins had set a Monday deadline for a financing package, in part because $35 million in convention development taxes pledged by the county toward a stadium would have been lost to Miami Beach unless a financing plan were in place by then.

That urgency was removed last week when the county agreed to provide millions of dollars to upgrade the Miami Beach Convention Center, and the city dropped its opposition to convention development taxes being used for a baseball stadium. The County Commission is scheduled to consider that agreement at its meeting today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites



  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.