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Heat Owner Micky Arison has reached an agreement with the city of Miami to extend the team's lease by two years to 2000, while he "looks for a new downtown site." However, arena manager Leisure Management Int'l, half-owned by Marlins/Dolphins/Panthers Owner Wayne Huizenga, said it "will reject the proposed lease." Arison believes this "is a big conflict of interest," because Huizenga plans to build a new arena for the Panthers and would like the Heat as a tenant. Arison: "The city of Miami's arena is being run by someone who says he plans to build an arena in Fort Lauderdale." Miami Mayor Stephen Clark has agreed to the extension. The city owns the land, and one of its agencies, the Miami Sports and Exposition Authority, owns the arena. Leisure Management's Rob Franklin said Huizenga "has no role in these negotiations" (Ted Reed, MIAMI HERALD, 3/10).
The Twins have launched a campaign for a new baseball-only stadium, and "they've got the American League on their side." AL President Gene Budig said he will go to Minnesota to look at "stadium improvements." Twins Owner Carl Pohlad is not satisfied with the Metrodome: "It's a football stadium. ... We're going to start taking a look at all the options. We're still in the exploratory phase." In the Twin Cities, Jim Caple writes that considering how easy the city "rolled over" for the T-Wolves, "our only response to the Twins will be to ask what color scheme they want in the luxury suite" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 3/9). TARGET CENTER DEAL DONE TODAY? The Minneapolis City Council will vote today on the public takeover of the Target Center. This would "finally clear the way" for likely Wolves Owner Glen Taylor to close his $88.5M acquisition of the NBA team from Marv Wolfenson and Harvey Ratner. Taylor would sign a 30-year lease to play at the Target Center. A last minute negotiated item would keep his property taxes low if he doesn't sell or move the team and could save Taylor "tens of millions of dollars over the next 30 years" (Bruce Oswall, ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 3/10).