SBD/April 30, 2014/Facilities

Dolphins' Ross Opposed To Univ. Of Miami Football Escaping Lease To Play At MLS Facility

UM officials like the idea of a smaller venue and closer proximity to campus
Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross is "opposed to allowing" the Univ. of Miami football team to "escape the final 18 years of its lease" at Sun Life Stadium to move to a proposed MLS facility, according to sources cited by Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. Ross declined to comment when asked if he would "allow UM to escape its lease." But a source said that he would "have no incentive to do so." UM remains "very interested in sharing a stadium with David Beckham’s MLS team if Beckham’s group determines it’s feasible." A source said that a joint UM/MLS facility "remains a 'real possibility' that interests Beckham, and Beckham’s people are still studying financial and traffic issues before coming back to UM with details and a definitive answer." The school "hasn’t asked yet, because it’s premature." If the stadium is "built at PortMiami (Beckham’s preferred site), traffic would be a concern for UM games because some cruises leave on Saturday afternoons." The school also wants to "make sure there’s adequate parking." UM "isn’t unhappy at Sun Life," and stadium upgrades are "appearing more likely than a year ago." But a source said that several high-ranking school officials "love the MLS stadium idea because of the appeal of a smaller venue (with 40,000 seats) with better atmosphere and sight lines and closer to campus" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/30).

THE LAST HOLD-OUT: In Orlando, Mark Schlueb reports negotiators at Orlando City Hall and a church that "stands in the way" of a new MLS stadium "remain far apart on a selling price and appear headed to court." City officials have been "trying for more than a year to acquire the land where tiny Faith Deliverance Temple sits." The city has "bought up 17 other parcels and filed eminent domain actions in court to force the sale of two others on the Parramore site." The church is the "last hold-out." Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said, "My understanding is … they're back at wanting $35 million for a $700,000 piece of property, so I anticipate at some point we're going to have to move forward and let the court determine what the fair market value of that property is" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 4/30).
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