Realtors would lease Miami parking agency's Marlins ballpark garage sites
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
When the Marlins' retractable-roof baseball stadium opens next year in Miami's Little Havana, gamegoers will not only get to watch the team play but shop at the stadium, too.
The world-class complex, costing an estimated $515 million to build, is to not only house the 37,000-seat stadium but also parking garages with retail at street level.
The City of Miami, one of the three partners funding this project, is putting in the funds to build four garages and six surface parking lots.
The Miami Parking Authority is to operate the parking facilities and oversee the retail leasing.
Art Noriega, the authority's chief executive officer, said the city and the authority are drafting an agreement to formally authorize the parking agency to oversee the parking and retail operations.
"We haven't formalized our agreements with the city for management of the garages," he said, adding that a meeting is to discuss it this week.
The plan is to have realty firm NAI Miami, which handles all the authority's commercial leasing, take on the stadium parking's retail leasing, Mr. Noriega said.
In this three-way public-private partnership, Miami-Dade is to contribute $347.5 million to the $515 million project, $154 million is coming from the Marlins and Miami is to put $13.5 million plus funding the construction of the four garages and six lots, according to construction agreements. The city's total cost is estimated at $101.4 million.
The stadium's parking consists of 4,713 spaces in four garages and 826 spaces in six lots, said Roberto Fenton, the city's senior project manager.
Two garages are on the property's north side, along Northwest Seventh Street, one west and one east.
The five-story garages No. 1, on the west side, and No. 2, on the east side, have 954 and 1,364 spaces respectively, noted Mr. Fenton, who is overseeing the stadium and parking construction for the city.
On the stadium's south side, the two six-level garages, No. 3 on the west and No. 4 on the east, have 1,180 and 1,215 spaces each.
About 900 workers have undergone orientation to help build the parking, with an average of 150 on the job daily.
The city, he said, is surpassing local job goals set for the parking component.
"We are required to have 50% of workers be from Miami-Dade and currently we have 78%," Mr. Fenton said. "In the agreement, 35% of those are supposed to be from the City of Miami and we currently have 54%."
Completion of garage No.1 is scheduled for month's end and No. 2 is to top off in March, Mr. Fenton said. Garage No. 3 won't wrap up until October or November and garage No. 4 is to be complete by December.
The six surface lots are last to be developed because the land is being used as a staging area for stadium construction, he explained. That phase is likely to be done closer to March 2012.
Mr. Fenton anticipates having all garage components done by next January.
This would allow signed retailers — which the city has yet to secure — to build out their spaces.
About 53,395 square feet is designated for retail within three of the four parking structures.
Garage No. 1 has 23,914 square feet of retail to lease, No. 2 has 21,676 and No. 3 has 7,805.
The ball is already rolling to reach potential retailers and eateries.
"We've gotten interest from some prospective tenants, including restaurants," Mr. Noriega said.
The Marlins, who now play at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, are to move to their new home for the 2012 baseball season that begins in April.
The plan is to set up a Web site with the property and leasing details, do preliminary planning for the spaces and, with the city's help, even provide tenant incentives.
"The idea is we want to get some of the tenants operating by opening day, so that retail is functioning," Mr. Noriega said. "That may not necessarily be the case, but we'll do all we can to get there."
Worst is behind Miami's commercial market experts say. Subscribe to e-Miami Today and read the