Like team, Marlins ticket prices sink to last
By Meisha Perrin
Almost four months after the opening of the Miami Marlins' stadium, the 53,281 square feet of retail space in three of its four garages is still empty.
But according to Art Noriega, Miami Parking Authority CEO, leasing is in process, letters of intent are being negotiated, and one lease has already been signed.
The authority has had trouble securing tenants for the Marlins Park stadium complex, where the demographics of the surrounding neighborhood differ from those of the average season ticketholder — and any businesses that would compete with the concession stands in the ballpark or with stadium naming rights sponsors are barred by the three-way stadium development contract that the Marlins signed with the city and Miami-Dade County.
Expectations for high-end retail prospects had to be reconsidered, as businesses wanted to be successful 365 days a year in selling to the demographic of nearby Little Havana residents, not just for the 81 days during the season to baseball fans coming into the area.
Now, "there's some good momentum going," said Henry Torre, city director of public facilities and asset management, "and we do have some very exciting deals that we are trying to close with some good, solid-credit tenants that are consistent with the theme of the tenant mix we are looking for."
Terranova Corp., the real estate company handling the leasing, refused to comment.
Most of the retail tenants that are now interested in the location are looking to be up and running as of April next year, according to Mr. Noriega, to be open in conjunction with the second season of baseball — and he said there are a couple of really good prospects.
A lease has already been signed with cigar shop 100 Fires Cigars, according to Mr. Noriega, who also said the parking authority hopes to get them into their 625-square-foot unit, the smallest of the garages' six retail slots, before the end of 2012.
The authority has also approved terms and a letter of intent with Irish pub Tilted Kilt, which would take up one of the bigger units, 8,500 square feet, and is in the process of putting a lease together.
Titled Kilt is "the first big anchor tenant we have gotten," Mr. Noriega said. "It's a pretty big corner space that opens up on the promenade, so we are kind of excited about that tenant."
The cost per square foot has not yet been finalized with Tilted Kilt.
Money from the retail tenants ultimately will be paired with money the city receives from the Marlins, paid at $10.06 per parking space for now, to repay the city-issued bonds for the approximately $94 million project.
"The hope is to get at least four or five tenants open by the start of [the] next season," Mr. Noriega said. "That is the goal."
For now, although all six slots are still physically empty and Miami has yet to get any revenue from retail space at the Marlins Park garages, officials say things are looking up.
"Right now we do have some deals on the table that we are excited about," Mr. Torre said. "And if we can close those deals, it can go along way toward stabilizing that property."
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