SBD/April 28, 2014/Facilities

Florida House Supports Tax Breaks For Teams, But MLB Singled Out For Cuban Policy

Lawmakers added the stipulation in response to the Puig hostage reports
A bill that would "enable professional sports franchises to compete for sales tax subsidies cleared a major hurdle Friday, winning overwhelming support in the Florida House," according to Kathleen McGrory of the MIAMI HERALD. The tax breaks would be "available to professional football, basketball, hockey and soccer teams, as well as professional rodeos and NASCAR-sponsored events." But baseball teams would have to "stay on the bench" unless MLB alters its rules on about Cuban players. Lawmakers "added the stipulation in response to media reports" that Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig was "held hostage by human traffickers while trying to establish residency in Mexico" in '12. The measure is part of a larger bill (HB 7095) that would make $12M in annual subsidies "available for stadium renovation and construction projects." Pro teams could "apply for as much as" $2M in annual tax breaks. The state's Department of Economic Opportunity would "rank the applications based on their potential economic impact, and state lawmakers would decide the winners." The payments would "last up to 30 years" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/26).

WATER WORLD: MLS Commissioner Don Garber on Friday "reiterated that the league favors the proposed Port of Miami site, or another downtown waterfront site," for David Beckham’s expansion team. Garber said he and league officials do not believe "any site other than the downtown site" will work. Garber added that there are other waterfront sites “that might make sense" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/27). In Miami, Barry Jackson writes as Beckham "works toward securing a stadium deal that would guarantee a franchise is awarded to Miami, analysts say success at the gate for an MLS team is no sure thing." Miami-Ft. Lauderdale would become "one of the least-populated markets with five major professional sports franchises," ahead of only Denver. Whereas the Heat sell out every game, the Dolphins, Marlins and NHL Panthers all "rank in the bottom third of their leagues in attendance." NASL Ft. Lauderdale Strikers President Tom Mulroy said, “To translate a guy that watches the World Cup to a guy who’s going to come to an MLS game against Columbus on a Wednesday night isn’t the same.” He said of the stadium location, “They need to be in a more centrally located area than downtown, in a commercial environment" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/28).

FISH MARKET: In Miami, Peter Zalewski writes as the Marlins begin a third season at their $639M publicly-financed ballpark in Little Havana, the venue has had a "minimal impact on the surrounding area’s residential real-estate market." Marlins Park appears to have "done little since its opening" in April '12 to "bolster the neighborhood’s residential resale prices, spur an increase in transactions or even generate any sizable residential construction by the private sector." The unanswered question going forward is whether government leaders will "take any steps to incentivize residential real-estate developers to take notice during this growth cycle of the economically challenged area around Marlins Park" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/28).
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