City To Miss Target Date For Orange Bowl Work
Written by Risa Polansky on August 9, 2007
By Risa Polansky
With the University of Miami football program still on the fence about whether to remain in the Orange Bowl, renovating the stadium by the city’s long-planned 2009 target date has become an "impossibility," Miami City Manager Pete Hernandez says. And 2010 may now be a stretch, according to the consulting firm behind the renovation plans.
"The longer things last, the more concerned we become about a 2010 delivery date," said John Paccione, managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, commissioned by the city to plan the bowl’s $206 million redevelopment.
Even if UM decided today to remain in its home of 70 years rather than move to Dolphin Stadium, completing a full Orange Bowl revamping by 2010 "would be a challenge," he said.
A contractor charged with the first stage of structural repairs was to have been hired Aug. 1, according to a May 21 draft of the firm’s plans.
But the city hasn’t begun the required three-month procurement process and can’t until UM gives the go-ahead.
"The clock keeps ticking," Mr. Hernandez said — and is affecting Major League Baseball, which is "willing" to bring the Florida Marlins to a stadium on the Orange Bowl site should the university choose to leave, he said.
At a meeting with the city manager this week, Joe Natoli, UM’s CFO, "wasn’t even committing to guessing" which way university officials are leaning, Mr. Hernandez said.
Mr. Natoli said in an e-mail that he could say only that UM officials have discussed options with city and Dolphin Stadium officials and "we will provide an update to the university’s trustees later in the month."
The renovations could be "fully funded" without contribution UM largely through historic tax credits and stadium revenue bonds, the consultant report said.