Florida Marlins deal hits parking spaces snag
By Lou Ortiz and Risa Polansky
A parking gap is road-blocking negotiations for a $525 million Florida Marlins stadium. If not resolved quickly, it could topple a tight construction schedule and an anticipated April 2011 opening, officials said.
Miami-Dade County, City of Miami, Major League Baseball and the Marlins have been trying to craft a final ballpark agreement for six weeks.
A preliminary agreement in December gave Miami the responsibility to build a 6,000-space garage near the stadium at the Orange Bowl site and find 6,000 more spaces nearby. But city officials, including Manager Pete Hernandez, have maintained since last month they plan to provide only the 6,000 garage spots.
On Tuesday, County Manager George Burgess said Miami-Dade is "very, very close" to a deal with the team, but the Marlins and Miami have yet to settle the parking gap.
"It has to do with the site and parking," he said. "It's something the team and the city have to resolve."
"We expected to get it [the agreement] done in January," Mr. Burgess said, adding that, absent an agreement, "beyond February and March it impacts the ability to get the facility done by 2011."
Miami officials could not be reached. Miami commission Chairman Joe Sanchez, whose district includes the Orange Bowl, said last month area residents depend on income from selling game-day lawn parking.
"I am OK with 6,000 (spaces)," he said. "Twelve thousand I may not be OK with."
On Tuesday, County Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz decried negotiation delays, saying "every day that goes by it means more money."
Fast-tracking construction to 29 months to be ready by Opening Day in April 2011 is already costing $20 million.