Published January 14, 2013
Dolphins could privately finance majority of stadium upgrades if tax laws not changed
Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said the team has committed to privately finance the majority of a proposed $400M renovation of Sun Life Stadium if state and local leaders approve changes in tax laws to fund the balance of the project. The Dolphins were scheduled to announce details of upgrades to the 25-year-old stadium the club owns and operates and a funding plan during today’s news conference at the facility. Team and local officials plan to submit a bid for the 50th Super Bowl, to be played in ‘16, and they have a 90-day window to come up with financing before initial proposals for the game are due in April, Dee said. Final bids are due in May. Dee said that Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross will finance more than 50% of renovation costs, contingent on legislative approval of two sources of public funding. Dee said that the first source would activate a local sales tax rebate on goods and services for the Dolphins that could raise $3M a year for 30 years to help pay for the upgrades. The second source is a one-cent proposed increase in the state’s hotel bed tax from $.06 to $.07. Dee noted that under state law, the Dolphins are eligible for those two sources of tax revenue because they have committed to paying for the majority of a project with a minimum cost of $250M, the floor required by state government for tapping into public money. Dee: “We’re not claiming to have all the good ideas. We need to roll up our sleeves and talk to legislative leaders. It’s one of those modernizations where you can’t do just a part of it. It can’t be done a la carte. This is a crossroads for the facility.” He added that the renovation calls for a major overhaul of the stadium’s seating bowl and a roof canopy to make the facility more fan friendly for NFL and college football and int'l soccer. 360 Architecture is designing the upgrades in conjunction with developer Jay Cross, who works for Ross’ Related Cos. in N.Y.