SBD/April 9, 2013/Facilities

Dolphins Reach Deal With Miami-Dade County For Sun Life Stadium Renovations

Polls have shown opposition to use of tax dollars for Sun Life Stadium renovations
The Dolphins would “receive about $7.5 million a year in hotel taxes to renovate Sun Life Stadium under a deal endorsed by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez” late last night, according to a front-page piece by Mazzei & Hanks of the MIAMI HERALD. County commissioners are expected to convene tomorrow “to endorse the deal and send it on to the countywide vote on May 14, a week before NFL owners meet to award Super Bowls 50 and 51.” The Dolphins have “agreed to forgo county money if one of the games is not awarded" to the stadium. Among the terms of the deal are that Miami-Dade would “increase its mainland hotel tax to 7 percent from 6 percent, and give the Dolphins 75 percent of the new revenue up to $7.5 million ... in Year One.” That dollar cap each year “would increase" by 3% and the payout would “expire in 26 years.” The Dolphins at the end of 30 years would “refund between $110 and $120 million to the county -- Miami-Dade’s estimated share of a renovation project that would cost at least $350 million.” The Dolphins also would “pay up to $120 million in penalties if they fell short of bringing a roster of large sporting events to Sun Life during the next 30 years, including four Super Bowls and four national college football championships.” Team Owner Stephen Ross “reportedly would pay significant penalties if he sold the team during the next five years, and the Dolphins will sign a 30-year agreement not to leave Miami-Dade.” Two public polls have “shown overwhelming opposition to sending tax dollars to Sun Life, but the Dolphins’ campaign team says they can win enough support at the polls to get the measure passed.” Gimenez said that he “supported the Dolphins deal, and would ‘happily’ vote for it.” But he “stopped short of saying he would campaign for it” (MIAMI HERALD, 4/9).

NOT SO FAST: The South Florida SUN-SENTINEL notes the Dolphins are “still a long way from gaining public funding for the stadium project.” Bills are under consideration in “both branches of the Florida Legislature to provide the revenue, pending approval in the public referendum.” But if legislators “don’t pass the bills, the referendum will be moot.” And although the bills “cleared two key committees last week, there is opposition in Tallahassee, including from members of the Miami-Dade delegation” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 4/9).
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