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Marlins Considering Revised Proposal for $525M Ballpark

Wed January 16, 2008 - Southeast Edition
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MIAMI (AP) The Florida Marlins are considering a revised proposal for a $525 million ballpark on the site of the Orange Bowl that includes both increased long-term county costs and a large, up-front contribution from the team.

According to details of the revised proposal, the Marlins would pay $155 million up-front for the 37,000-seat retractable-roof ballpark, which would open by April 2011.

Miami-Dade County would pay $199 million in tourist tax dollars and $50 million from a general obligation bond, according to a county memo that was posted on the county commission’s Web site.

“It does take more of the risk off of the government, so that’s a good thing,” Commissioner Jose Diaz said.

Marlins president David Samson declined comment. The team has said it needs a new ballpark to survive in South Florida.

“It is more money,” Diaz said. “But that money — once this is done, once we agree to [a certain] amount — from that point on, it’s the Marlins’ and Major League Baseball’s dollar.”

The revised county proposal includes an agreement that the Marlins won’t move and for the city to build a parking garage.

The Orange Bowl was left without a primary tenant when the University of Miami announced in August that its football team would leave the site after this season. It has been slated for demolition.

The Florida Legislature failed to approve a $60 million subsidy in May that would help build a $490 million, retractable-roof stadium. In recent years, proposals for a new stadium have come before the Legislature and failed.

“I think the next few days are going to be extremely crucial for the whole process,” Diaz said. “I believe the Marlins, as much as Major League Baseball, want to finish this deal.”

The Marlins have played in Dolphins Stadium since their founding in 1993, but the team complains that it is ill-designed for baseball and too big, and that Florida’s hot, humid and rainy summers necessitate a roof.

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