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Front Page » Business & Finance » Dolphins’ site studied for Youth Fair

Dolphins’ site studied for Youth Fair

Written by on August 28, 2013

Land beside Sun Life Stadium owned in part by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is viewed in a just-completed study as a new home for the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair and Exposition.

The study, ordered on behalf of the fair, the county and Florida International University, looks as well at land on the former Homestead Air Force Base and undeveloped Hialeah land to move the fair so FIU can grow into the present fairgrounds.

The 139-page impact study doesn’t timetable a move or source funds to buy land or build. Nobody involved will comment on the study, obtained on request by Miami Today.

Any move would be pricey: The study values the Hialeah land at $42 million and the Homestead land at $49 million. The value of the Dolphins’ site wasn’t specified.

Markin Consulting of Maple Grove, MN, dug into fair operations and evaluated the impacts of relocating to three sites.

The multi-owner Graham Site is 335 undeveloped acres in Hialeah between the Southeast Florida Turnpike extension, Northwest 170th Street and I-75 zoned agricultural or industrial. The 344 acres in Homestead, now county parkland, could be accessed via Florida’s Turnpike.

The owner of the Miami Dolphins and the stadium operator own the site surrounding Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. Though it’s 85 acres, possible developments on some portions cast doubt on how much is actually available for the fair, the study reports. That site was added after the study began.

The fair’s next step is unknown. Chairman Eduardo Cora said the board and its partners are reviewing the study and declined to comment.

The fair is at Southwest 24th Street and 107th Avenue on the west side of Tamiami Park. It’s bordered on the north by FIU. The study analyzed benefits of the fair relocating and FIU taking over land it currently owns and leases to the fair, as well as the acreage that is currently a Miami-Dade County park. Though FIU doesn’t have a finished site plan, the study used a draft that the university developed with architecture and design firm Perkins+Will.

The economic benefits analysis assumed FIU would use the new space for student housing, academics and research, support services and “partnership” space, in addition to parking and open space. FIU’s draft called for more than 600,000 square feet for student housing, over 200,000 square feet each for research and academics, and almost 2.6 million square feet of “partnership” space.

FIU’s estimated construction cost is $900 million. The recurring benefit to the county economy is estimated at $541 million and the initial benefit $1.8 billion.

FIU is still reviewing the study, completed in July, said an email from Maydel Santana Bravo, media relations director. A September taskforce meeting under Senior Vice President Sandra Gonzalez-Levy, she wrote, will review and discuss the study with FIU’s partners.

The 18-day fair has been at its current site over 40 years. Over 500,000 people attended this year. Most households say the main reason was to take children, according to a 2012 survey by Coral Gables-based Behavioral Science Research. The 2014 fair is March 13 to 30.