SBJ/December 20 - 26, 1999/No Topic Name

Marlins owner to rally for stadium support

Florida Marlins owner John Henry said last week the team will spend the next 45 to 60 days rallying public and financial support for a $400 million retractable-roof stadium in downtown Miami.

Henry did not elaborate on financing options except to say he expected to follow national trends of gathering about 80 percent public money.

The Marlins also selected HOK Inc. as design architect and architect of record for the project.

The team hopes to move into the stadium from its current Pro Player Stadium home in time for the 2003 season.

Henry said the area picked for the stadium has suffered from a number of redevelopment projects that haven't worked — what he likened to a "one-ingredient pizza." He said the planned 38,000-seat stadium, which is expected to be surrounded by retail and urban green space, would serve as a catalyst for development efforts.

The downtown Miami site was selected over a site in nearby downtown Fort Lauderdale. The site selected is home to the city's public Bicentennial Park.

The Marlins' site selection prompted immediate criticism by some observers.

"I think it's the height of arrogance that one should be taking a public park for a private use like that," said Gregory Bush, an associate professor of history at the University of Miami and director of UM's Institute for Public History.

Bush said the opposition to developing the area into a baseball stadium would be more organized than similar opposition to AmericanAirlines Arena, the new arena for the Miami Heat being built just south of the park.

The Marlins in August announced six sites in south Florida being considered for their planned baseball-only park. That list was later narrowed to the targeted sites in downtown Miami and downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Lucy Chabot and Alexis Muellner write for the South Florida Business Journal. Correspondent Ronni Sayewitz of the South Florida Business Journal contributed to this report.

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Miami Marlins, Miami Heat

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