Repitching Downtown Owner Of Miami Arena Land Says He Can Build Privately Funded Stadium
Written by Miami Today on March 5, 2009
By Scott E. Pacheco
As city and county officials struggle over a heavily publicly financed Florida Marlins stadium in Little Havana, Miami Arena-site owner Glenn Straub says his offer to build a privately funded ballpark downtown is still on the table.
Always a proponent of baseball in the city, Mr. Straub said he was going to let the Orange Bowl site process play out until recently.
"People came to us — commissioners and council people came to us — and they said, "Hey, Mr. Straub, is that site still available?’" he said. "If they want this as an option, it’s OK."
The Palm Beach businessman, who bought the arena in 2004 for $28 million and later razed it, declined to say who approached him.
He said he’s willing to pay for a Marlins’ ballpark downtown near where the arena stood and lease the park to the team, which would eliminate need for massive long-term bonding to fund the proposed stadium at the former Orange Bowl site.
"We’re saying we want to have the stadium there free from debt," Mr. Straub said. "We could do it. They don’t have to put this on their balance sheet — they have this lease, and a lease is pay-as-you-go."
Other advantages he cited:
The ballpark would stay on the tax rolls.
It would eliminate the need to build garages for about $94 million at the Orange Bowl site.
The ballpark would fit in with current public transit.
Mr. Straub wouldn’t put a price on the ballpark but said he would spend "whatever it takes to get the job done." He said about 17 acres are available, including 11.7 acres from his property, railroad property and a deadend street, plus 5.5 acres that Major League Baseball acquired options on several years ago.