Stadium would boost real estate market, business leaders say
By Dan Dolan
Building a $420 million stadium for the Florida Marlins in downtown Miami might be the cure for the area’s softening real estate market, business leaders said this week.
And the good news for downtown business interests, Miami-Dade County leaders say, is that a proposal to put a stadium on 9 acres of government-owned land just north of the county administration building has the inside track with baseball executives and many elected officials.
“This would do wonders for property values in the downtown area,” said John Blazejack, president of Blazejack & Company, a Miami real estate consulting firm. “But any plan has to work to the public’s benefit, too.”
A plan unveiled last week by County Manager George Burgess calls for taxpayers to contribute the site — which real estate experts estimate is worth $17.6 million — and float loans to pay for construction. Mr. Burgess said loans would be paid off through a combination of tourist taxes, a special state tax subsidy, revenues generated by other redevelopment and $162 million in rent from the Marlins.
“The county would own the stadium and the land,” Mr. Burgess said. “But we’re still working on the details of the entire project.”
Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz said there is a long way to go before a stadium becomes reality. While he prefers a proposed site in his home district of Hialeah, he said, a downtown venue may make it easier to close a projected $120 million gap in the cost of construction and revenues to pay for a stadium.
“There may be more tax money available to pay for a stadium downtown,” Mr. Diaz said. “I know Major League Baseball is determined to have the stadium downtown.”
That’s music to Miami real estate leader Edie Laquer’s ears. “A downtown stadium would be one of the best things that could happen to us,” she said.