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HUIZENGA ASKS COUNTY FOR TAX BREAK; MARLINS TICKET SALES UP
Published January 8, 1997
Wayne Huizenga has gone to court "in pursuit of a huge tax break that could cost Dade County [FL] nearly $3 million a year in property tax revenue," according to Don Finefrock in the MIAMI HERALD. Huizenga wants the county to exempt Pro Player Stadium from local property taxes, and his attorneys say the exemption for the stadium, its scoreboard and concessions is "rightfully his." The tax bill for the three amounts to "about" $2.8M a year. Huizenga's attorneys said the stadium qualified for an exemption under a change in state law adopted in '94 to "attract sports teams" to FL. The change "carved out" an exemption for sports facilities if private companies "lease government property for a public purpose or venture." Huizenga's lawyers say Pro Player qualifies because the 10-year old stadium sits on 143 acres of land leased from the county. Huizenga bought half the stadium in '90 and the rest in '94, but ownership passes to the county when the lease expires after 99 years (MIAMI HERALD, 1/8). Huizenga attorney Stanley Wakshal said Pro Player is the only stadium in FL that hosts a major pro team that "still pays property taxes." In Ft. Lauderdale, Larry Lebowitz notes Huizenga paid more than $2.6M in property taxes in '94 on the stadium, not including scoreboard and concessions (FT. LAUDERDALE SUN-SENTINEL, 1/8). NO DOME -- FOR NOW: In Miami, Barry Jackson reports in that a dome will not be added to Pro Player Stadium in the "near future," but that Huizenga "will consider building a baseball-only stadium -- perhaps with a retractable dome -- if the Marlins draw well this season" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/8). MARLINS TIX SALES: The Marlins have sold 1,200 new season tickets since their off-season "spending spree," and are on pace to surpass last year's season ticket total of 12,500. Marlins' VP/Marketing Jim Ross said it was "unrealistic" to expect the team to sell 21,000 season tickets, as they did in '93, but thinks 15,000 is "realistic" (Barry Jackson, MIAMI HERALD, 1/8).