Building a Ballpark at the Orange Bowl is Complicated Too

We told you about the Miami Herald’s traffic expert chiming in on the ballpark. Now comes the view from the Sun-Sentinel’s “Business in Sports” expert Sarah Talalay.

Sarah, take it away:

Don’t assume, despite what the politicians say, that the $490 million financing deal debated earlier this year only to stall when the state Senate adjourned without considering a $60 million sales tax rebate, can just be moved to the OB site.

But listen to what our leaders have to say:

“I believe we had the financing in place, even six to eight months ago,” [Miami City Manager Pete] Hernandez said. “The only item missing was what we were looking for from the state. At this point, I don’t think it’s insurmountable. We have the funding in the place.”

Added [Miami Mayor Manny] Diaz, “The meat of whatever agreement is there, the adjustment is the site. We’re really modifying the agreement. I’m hoping we can move with all deliberate speed to get a deal done as soon as possible.”

Why the pessimism?

If it were that simple, the deal could have been negotiated while UM was mulling its decision to move.

Good point. As the article points out, there are added costs to the Orange Bowl site including demolition and design. We also believe that additional land acquisition will be necessary for additional parking (remember, the ballpark has a retractable roof which increases its footprint). That means eminent domain of private land belonging to many individuals (unlike downtown site where there are only a few plots and they are mostly owned by local government). We know the Supreme Court is OK with taking private land for, well, private use but we are pretty sure the state legislature is not going to like it.

What about using the money allocated to the Orange Bowl renovation?

…those dollars were for an OB renovation. It is possible the money could be moved, but according to the county attorney’s office, only if a public hearing on the switch is held.

All this says is that while the county and city act like the Orange Bowl is the way to go because it is easier and there is an additional source of money, don’t accept that because there is level of complexity anytime you want to build such a massive project. Regardless of where the ballpark is located, it will be a painful project.

0 Replies to “Building a Ballpark at the Orange Bowl is Complicated Too”

  1. Here’s an idea… Build the Ballpark downtown as the Marlins wanted at the Government Center area (where less parking would need to be built because of lots and garages already there), and build the new children’s courthouse and any other government facilities that the County wanted to put downtown at the OB Site. They will probably have enough land left over at the OB Site to sell to commercial developers. This way, each site develops with projects that are appropriate for it. Downtown develops through ballpark and related services business (bars, restaurants, etc.) which can be easily accessed through public transport and infrastructure which can handle heavy traffic. The more residential OB site develops through government projects and new commercial development and doesn’t overwhelm existing infrastructure. But that may be too rational for Miami…

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