Miami Arena continued booking despite pending sale
By Yeleny Suarez
The Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority continued to schedule events at Miami Arena after being told that a local developer had made an offer to buy the venue, says Executive Director James Jenkins.
Mr. Jenkins said the authority was told May 25 that parking lot owner and developer Hank Sopher had expressed interest in buying the arena, which the authority operates. The last event was a celebrity basketball game May 29.
However, Mr. Jenkins said Tuesday, "We felt compelled to tell our customers the truth, and many feared to commit to a contract while the building was up for sale."
News reports published Saturday said the arena had not been taking reservations since Mr. Sopher's offer and a pending auction, which was held last week.
Sandra Pozo, assistant to Mr. Jenkins, said Miami resident and singer Gloria Estefan canceled in early August after her promoter learned about the pending sale. Another who changed his mind was Julio Iglesias, who moved his booking to American Airlines Arena a week after he booked a date at the Miami Arena.
But future bookings are in the process, Mr. Jenkins said.
The Miami Arena is now talking with MTV about rehearsals before the MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 29 at the American Airlines Arena, Mr. Jenkins said Tuesday.
Since last week's auction, top bidder Glenn Straub and officials from the authority began meetings that are to continue all this week.
If Mr. Straub fails to close on the purchase by adding $25.01 to his $3 million downpayment by Sept. 21, the arena is to be offered to the second highest bidder, Hank Sopher, who offered $28 million.
According to Mr. Jenkins, the new contract, signed Aug. 10, states the Miami Arena can carry on with business until Sept. 11, when Mr. Straub, owner of Palm Beach Polo and Country Club, takes over.
"Straub understands the venue needs to do business," Mr. Jenkins said, "and he agrees we book events and keep the place running until September."