Greater Miami Chamber Drafts Team To Find Home For Marlins
By Sherri C. Ranta
Greater Miami Chamber drafts team to find home for MarlinsBy Sherri Ranta
Using a business-like approach and the strength of its 6,600-member army of civic leaders, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce plans to take over efforts to build a baseball stadium for the Florida Marlins.
Chamber Chairman Ramiro Ortiz said local government has been a "lone ranger" in the quest for a stadium, and participation from the chamber could lend the right mix of leadership and expertise necessary to come up with a practical plan.
"The public sector leadership has done a lot," said Mr. Ortiz, president of SunTrust Bank of Miami, "but I think the business sector has a track record in Miami of getting a lot of things done through the chamber process.
"I feel confident," he said, "we can get it done."
A three-member chamber committee led by attorney Bruce J. Colan of the law firm Holland & Knight, Peter W. Roulhac of First Union National Bank and Leslie Pantin of The Pantin Partnership, a public relations firm, will move quickly on the stadium issue, Mr. Ortiz said, meeting in the next few days and possibly coming up with a presentation to the team in the next two months.
"Peter is a banker. Les is in PR. Bruce is an attorney," Mr. Ortiz said. "What we’re going to do is to look at what makes sense from a legal standpoint, what makes sense from a public relations standpoint and what makes sense from a financial standpoint.
"What we’ve done is put together a task force with the expertise, one that has access to business people with all kinds of experience, so we can run interference for the Marlins and get to a practical solution."
"We’re not going to over-analyze it to death," Mr. Ortiz said. "I suspect that shortly we’ll have a timeline and a plan."
Mr. Ortiz said chamber officials would take a business-like approach to the matter and act as a catalyst toward a collective solution.
"What we want is a ballpark. Whether it’s the river site or any one of the other sites that’s been looked at, we really don’t care," Mr. Ortiz said.
The committee, he said, will revisit all earlier stadium ideas for sites and financing without favoring one proposal over another.
Taking a strong leadership role on a stadium project came as a result of several discussions held during the chamber’s goals conference last weekend. Not only did Mr. Ortiz mention the need for a stadium in his inaugural address at the conference but the chamber’s sports council and downtown Miami committee made construction of a ballpark a priority.
Mr. Ortiz said he has been in touch with Marlins owner John Henry and the team’s executive vice president, Julio Rebull, who said the team welcomes the chamber’s participation.
"With no doubt they are leaders in the community, and their leadership will help us find a solution," Mr. Rebull said Tuesday.
Mr. Ortiz said he plans to speak soon with Miami Mayor Joe Carollo, who has been leading stadium efforts for the past month. Chamber officials said they also would coordinate with work by the Community Improvement Authority, a group appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to coordinate the ballpark project.
– Paola Iuspa contributed to this report.