Arriola Marlins Have No Deadline For Agreeing To Cover Stadium Overruns
By Suzy Valentine
Efforts to develop a baseball stadium near the Orange Bowl won’t progress until the Florida Marlins sign a contract with the City of Miami to cover cost overruns, but City Manager Joe Arriola said a deadline has not been set.
"We’ve already made the team an offer," said Mr. Arriola. "It’s up to the Marlins, but it’s running out of time. It’s kind of frustrating.
"We’ve offered to pay $325 million, and all the Marlins have to do is agree to pay for the overruns. We don’t want to build this thing and find out we don’t have an occupant."
Regular meetings with team management are held, he said.
"The offer is still there. The Marlins must act or time will run out," Mr. Arriola said. "The land hasn’t and won’t be acquired yet. We’re busy renovating the (Orange Bowl)."
In January, the cost of constructing a 35,000- to 40,000-seat retractable-roof ballpark and refurbishing the existing stadium was projected to be $375 million. The new stadium was estimated to be completed in 2007 at the earliest when the proposal was made almost a year ago.
The Marlins would get revenue from all in-stadium sources, naming rights, signage, concessions and about 4,600 parking spaces.
In spite of reports earlier this month that Marlins executives had been in talks with Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman to move there, Mr. Arriola said that Miami officials have continued to have regular dialogue with team officials.
He said the Marlins have been stalling on the Miami proposal. "We speak once a week," said Mr. Arriola. "We’ve done everything that we can already. If the team thinks it can just go to Tallahassee as it has done before without securing a deal with us, then it is very much mistaken."
City officials would have to reclaim land next to the Orange Bowl if the Marlins agree to the stadium proposal. Any eminent-domain claim would relate to parcels east of Northwest 17th Avenue and south of Seventh Street, at the northern flank of the Orange Bowl, said David Rosemond, chief of staff to the city manager.
Mr. Arriola said a decision about what groups other than the University of Miami football team might use the 68-year-old, 82,000-seat Orange Bowl after its renovations may come by the end of February.
"We are interviewing different entities. We haven’t picked anyone," he said, "but we should do so within the next 60 days. We haven’t chosen any finalists yet, but I hope to consider the options by the end of February. I hope that that relationship can get under way by the start of 2006."