Buyers Shown Riverfront Site Targeted For Baseball Stadium Broker States
By Sherri C. Ranta
A small chunk of the 20-acre Miami River site targeted for a Florida Marlins baseball stadium remains up for sale amid lots of talk but no deal-making.
Interest was high when the land hit the market in mid-January but fell off after March 15 when the Miami City Commission identified the river site as top choice for the stadium, said Edie Laquer, who is broker for the owner of 3.76 acres of the stadium site. That piece is listed at $12.3 million.
"There is no question, subsequent to the announcement, interest from all the parties has been tabled," she said. "They see no value in negotiating on the property while it is still the site of choice for the Marlins."
Today’s buyers are sophisticated, Ms. Laquer said. They are following the issue both here and in Latin America.
"Until the perception is dispelled one way or the other, the property will continue to be of great interest," she said, "but I don’t think anyone will act on it until something is definitive."
Owners of the 3.76-acre site, Miami Trade Center Associates, listed the property Jan. 15. Ms. Laquer said it is an offshore group but she could not reveal names of the principals.
Other owners of parcels that make up the potential stadium site are Florida East Coast Industries and Fontainebleau Hilton owner Stephen Muss. City officials said putting together the 20 acres could cost up to $40 million.
As listing agent for one piece, Ms. Laquer said there have been discussions with city officials about acquiring the land but "in terms of something concrete, or any posture of negotiation, there has been no discussions at all."
City, Miami-Dade County and Marlins officials lobbied the Florida Legislature this year to pass a bill to help fund a baseball stadium but failed when a last-minute compromise died in the Senate on May 4, last day of the 2001 session.
Funding proposals that were in the legislature included a $122 million state sales tax rebate and a 40-year extension of a City of Miami parking surcharge also approved by municipal referendum. That charge brings in about $13 million annually.
County officials were also looking to use about $118 million in convention development taxes to fund the stadium.
In addition to the Miami Trade Center Associates site, Ms. Laquer said a 1.36-acre site fronting Southwest Third Street is available. The land is contiguous to the trade center parcel.
While the final disposition of a Marlins stadium is in question, Ms. Laquer is marketing the larger parcel, according to sales materials, as the "last – and largest – waterfront high-rise development sites available in downtown Miami and the Brickell corridor."
The property, she said, is ideal for high-rise residential, office, hotel, apartment-hotel/condo-hotel, retail or mixed-use development.
The site is included in the master-planned Miami Riverwalk, which encourages new restaurants and specialty retail.