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Front Page » Top Stories » 79 Million Debt Cut Due For Landshark Stadium

79 Million Debt Cut Due For Landshark Stadium

www.miamitodaynews.com
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Written by on October 1, 2009

By Zachary S. Fagenson
South Florida Stadium LLC, LandShark Stadium’s owner, has won approval from the county’s Industrial Development Authority to extend maturity on the remaining value of four bonds totaling about $240 million to 2037.

County commission approval of last week’s action would save the company, principally owned by New York real-estate magnate Stephen Ross, about $7.9 million a year in debt-servicing costs.

"The extension of the maturity date," said a report to the authority, "will allow the company to better match the amortization of the debt with the useful life of the stadium."

The bond package includes $76.3 million of a $90 million tax-exempt bond issued in 1985 for stadium construction, $13.7 million of $21.7 million issued in 2000 for capital improvements as well as $100 million bonded in 2006 and $50 million from 2007 that helped add four levels to the stadium’s north and south sides and guest amenities and services.

Goldman Sachs is to be the bonds’ remarketing agent and managing underwriter.

In 2008, Mr. Ross bought 50% of the Dolphins and then-Dolphin Stadium from H. Wayne Huizenga for $550 million. This year, he upped his shares in both to 95% to the tune of $1 billion.

Since then, Mr. Ross has brought in minority owners who include tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams and entertainers Gloria and Emilio Estefan.

Once the bonds are repaid, according to the report to the authority, the company will retain the stadium.

Whether improvements, financed by more bonds or private money, will be made by the end of the stadium’s "useful life," however, is uncertain.

"Ten to 15 years down the road is a long way," said Ron Katz of Fin Associates LLP, one of Mr. Ross’s companies. "But as you know, we’ve spent a lot of money on the stadium and none of that’s being financed with bonds."

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