Miami airport gets $101 million payment toward new terminal
By Sherri C. Ranta
Another failed attempt to redevelop Homestead Sports Complex has left city officials searching for a buyer or tenant for the complex built in 1991 but damaged the following year by Hurricane Andrew.
Homestead officials terminated an agreement with Sports World last month after a major investor dropped out of the deal for a sports academy and a hotel. New capital could not be found, city and Sports World officials said.
The agreement had required Sports World to invest about $25.5 million in repairs, upgrades and construction through 2007.
The city had terminated the deal with Sports World in late July but decided to give Sports World principal Brian Carr until Aug. 19 to finalize negotiations with a potential investor, Pinnacle International Investments, said Marleen Volkert, assistant city manager. When Pinnacle notified the city that it would not pursue the project, the city acted to terminate the agreement, she said. Sports World was asked Aug. 18 to vacate the premises.
"It was a great idea that, unfortunately, did not work out," said Homestead City Councilwoman Judy Waldman, chair of the city's parks and recreation committee.
The $22 million complex was built to host spring training for the Cleveland Indians baseball team. Andrew damaged the stadium, and the Indians never used it. The complex - including a 6,500-seat baseball stadium and several practice fields - costs the city about $500,000 a year to maintain.
The complex has been used for college and other baseball tournaments and several concerts.
Sports World will continue looking for investors, Mr. Carr said, and probably would look for another site for its project.
"Once the main investor pulled out, the city gave us 30 days to bring in another investor," he said. "You can't find $19 million in 30 days." The major investor, he said, had to back out due to illness.
The company has been working on its project for about eight years, Mr. Carr said. Sports World runs sports tournaments throughout the country, he said, and wanted to establish its own property. Homestead's property, he said, was the third or fourth site the company considered.
Sports World's deal at Homestead included plans for renovations and improvements to the stadium and construction of a $4.5 million indoor facility, a $500,000 restaurant and a $19 million hotel and surf/water park.
Ms. Volkert said the city has met over the years with people interested in the stadium. Ideas for use, she said, have included camps and charter schools.
"No one has actually come forward today with an offer," she said.
Mike Richardson, president of the Vision Council, the area's economic-development organization, said various concepts have been proposed for the stadium through the years but never have materialized. They have included a water park, sports camps, a concert venue, a major-league soccer training camp and a Chinatown concept.