BRADENTON, Fla. - A long-awaited agreement to build a $515 million, bond-financed stadium for Major League Baseball's Florida Marlins is on the table tomorrow during special meetings of the Miami City Commission and the Miami-Dade County Commission.
"The only item being considered is the Marlins agreement," said Kelly Penton, communications director for Miami. The city's meeting starts at 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.
County commissioners are meeting at 1 p.m. solely to discuss the binding 35-year baseball stadium agreement, which formalizes the terms related to the design, development, and construction of a new baseball stadium at the site of the existing Orange Bowl, a football stadium owned by the city that is being razed.
The proposed agreement assumes "an aggressive 29-month construction period" with work beginning this November, said a Feb. 16 memo by Miami-Dade County manager George Burgess.
The Marlins current lease expires after the 2010 season. The team currently plays at the Miami Dolphin's football stadium.
"A binding agreement will provide a firm commitment from all parties to expeditiously move the stadium project forward in order to complete the stadium in time for the 2011 baseball season," said the memo by Burgess.
The new ballpark will be owned by the county. It will have a retractable roof and 37,000 seats, including 3,000 club seats, 60 private suites as well as concession, entertainment, and retail areas comparable to amenities included in recently constructed ballparks such as those in San Diego, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee.
If the two commissions approve the agreement tomorrow, it will provide the framework for finishing detailed documents, including non-relocation, management, and construction administration agreements. All of the agreements would be brought back to the commission for approval before July 1.
Under the baseball stadium agreement being considered tomorrow, Miami-Dade County would contribute $347 million to be paid from $50 million of general obligation bonds and revenue bonds secured by tourist development taxes.
The agreement calls for the team to provide $155 million, with $120 million to come from private financing. Another $35 million would come from annual rent payments of approximately $2.3 million to the county, which would be leveraged through the issuance of bonds. The team will change its name to the Miami Marlins and will agree to remain in Miami for 35 years. The team will pay for cost overruns and must obtain a $20 million line of credit.
Miami, which will donate the 13-acre site, will also provide $13 million toward construction, in addition to $10 million to demolish the Orange Bowl and prepare the site, and another $94 million to build 6,000 parking spaces in a garage and surface-level lot.
The city and the county will provide all public infrastructure such as road improvements and utilities, and they will again try to obtain a state sales tax rebate to help defray costs. That state rebate must be approved by the Florida Legislature and governor and has been a deal-breaker in the past. But the new agreement does not hinge on getting the rebate.