Upset over Miami Heat deal, city may bid out arena lot
commissioners defended their decision to give the Miami Heat control
of a parking lot and boat slips next to the American Airlines Arena
but agreed last week to possibly reopen the project for competitive
bids after learning the Heat has scaled back improvement plans for
the city-owned site.
Arthur Teele, citing media criticism of the city's deal with Calor
Development, the Heat's real estate division, defended last year's
decision as a concession to satisfy aesthetic concerns.
said Heat executives were preparing for a grand opening and wanted
the adjacent property cleaned up and presentable for television shots.
exchange for a revocable 30-day lease, the Heat had agreed to make
$1.1 million in improvements, including landscaping, seawall repairs
and other improvements.
more money than we were prepared to spend at that particular moment,"
Mr. Teele said. "All of a sudden this has turned into a sweetheart
Miami Heat pays $2,500 annually for the right to operate valet parking
services on the one-acre bayfront lot north of the arena.
Bilberry, director of asset management for the city, said six months
later the Heat had spent $178,000 on shore-line improvements but is
now scaling back plans for the property.
said the team plans about $528,000 in improvements, including $200,000
for the parking facility.
the one-acre property will be lost to a Biscayne Boulevard widening
project due in 2004. In the meantime, city commissioners contended
the deal turns the cost of maintaining the property over to the private
Joe Carollo has criticized the deal, saying the city should participate
in profits from the valet parking operation. He also objected to the
city's turning over control of the property to the Heat without a
Bilberry said a parking consultant hired to analyze the valet parking
operation estimates the Miami Heat could be receiving anywhere from
$132,000 to $222,000 in annual revenues.
Johnny Winton last week urged commissioners to take a new look at
this is a bad deal for the city," he said. "We ought to
look at this very, very differently."
Winton said asked city staffers to analyze the finances and study
whether to request bids.
said parking profits from the city-owned property should benefit the
city's parks department.
there is money to be made, the money should accrue to the City of
Miami," Mr. Teele said.
said he was concerned that the parking lot be landscaped according
to city codes.
has to be a first-class parking lot," he said.
Willy Gort said the commission's original decision was a policy matter.
attached conditions," he said.
commission relies on others to assess whether the agreement is carried
out, he said. "I think we have to build within the city somehow
enforcement to make sure it gets done."