Marlins still claiming ballpark costs
Written by Lidia Dinkova on October 1, 2014
The Miami Marlins are still submitting to the county their expenses for building the baseball team’s home in Little Havana – after three full seasons in the stadium.
So far, the Miami Marlins say that $110,756,131 should be counted toward the team’s share of the county-owned stadium’s cost, according to county records.
Miami-Dade auditors, however, have disputed part of those expenses as not qualifying as stadium spending to be counted toward the Marlins’ share of costs.
The county has contested $4,426,000 from the expenses submitted by the team. That amount may increase – auditors still must go over and verify about $230,000 of the total expense the Marlins have submitted to the county.
The issue of expenses submitted by the owners of the Marlins and disputed by the county is to be resolved at arbitration. That’s except for expenses the county contests that the Marlins voluntarily agree to remove from their stadium spending claims. Beyond the $4.4 million the county still disputes, the team has already agreed to remove $812,000.
The heavily scrutinized deal to finance construction of Marlins Park, the 37,400-seat stadium known for a retractable roof and an array of original culinary options, is a three-party agreement among the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County and the Marlins.
About $519.5 million was budgeted for the stadium, with the city responsible for $13.5 million, the county for $341.3 million and the Marlins for about $126 million. That’s excluding the issuance of a $35 million bond as well as about $4.5 million designated for making the stadium a ‘green’ structure that is built and operated by certain environmentally sustainable standards.
The $519.5 million doesn’t include funding for the parking garages built to go with Marlins Park, a responsibility mainly of the City of Miami.
Of the budgeted $519.5 million, $504,256,000 has already been counted toward the cost of the stadium.
The about $15 million difference falls within the Miami Marlins’ designated share of the overall cost. How much of that is spent won’t be known until the end of the year, when the final bid package is to close.
“Let’s say you are building a pool, and it costs $100 and the contractor built $95” worth of the pool’s construction cost, said Jose Galan, division chief for real estate development at Miami-Dade County’s Internal Services Department. “There’s one bid package to close out by the end of the year.… So there’s one thing left to be done at the pool. Once that’s done, we’ll know what the project cost would be.”
The stadium’s overall cost is anticipated to come in below the budgeted $519.5 million, Mr. Galan said.
Anything remaining from that total is to go into a tri-party account that is to later on fund capital improvements needed at the stadium, such as fixing the retractable roof.
Arbitration over the about $4.4 million contested of the Marlins’ submitted expenses won’t start until the final bid package is closed.
“Anything we dispute and we are correct about,” Mr. Galan said, “the Marlins would be paying out of their own pocket.”