Carlos Gimenez noncommittal on stadium plan

Miami Dolphins want to upgrade Sun Life Stadium with $400M proposal

Published On: Jan 30 2013 04:05:09 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 16 2013 10:30:55 AM EST
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez remains noncommittal about the Miami Dolphins $400 million plan to upgrade Sun Life Stadium.

The plan, announced Monday, includes seats closer to the field, HD sports lighting, new video screens, and a canopy to shield the fans.

"I'm prepared to put up more than half of the money," owner Stephen Ross said Monday.

Gimenez issued a statement Monday, saying: "We’ve had a discussion with the Dolphins on the need to enhance the existing facilities at the stadium, but until we receive an official proposal from them on what they plan to do, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the merits of the proposal."

Ross said he would pay $200 million, but wants the government to pay its share. The hotel bed tax in Miami-Dade County would be increased from 6 to 7 cents on the dollar and the team would ask the state for a $3 million sales tax rebate.

Ross is worth $4.4 billion, according to Forbes.

"This is a stadium that has had no public support as a football team, and the Dolphins is the only team in the National Football League, I think other than one, that has had no public support for its facility," said Ross.

Joe Robbie built the stadium with his own money 25 years ago when the county refused to pay for it. But he received several tax incentives, and the state build a multi-million dollar ramp off Florida's Turnpike that leads in to the stadium.

The Marlins Park deal soured the public on public subsidies, as Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria paid about 20 percent of the cost for the stadium.

"We recognize the environment that we're in. We recognize the public has a feeling about the deal that have been done in the recent past with respect to stadiums and ball parks," said Dolphins CEO Mike Dee.

"The financing is no way is going to be anything that resembles what we did with the Marlins stadium. It has to be a completely separate deal," Gimenez said Tuesday. "There's got to be something in it for the taxpayer and the residents of Miami-Dade County, and if we can renovate it and bring it to a state-of-the-art facility at half the cost, one-third the cost of building something new, that's something we have to look at."

The Dolphins want the hike in the hotel bed tax approved in the next few weeks because the host of Super Bowl 50 will be named in May. If Miami-Dade County Commissioners approve it, it will have to be without asking for voter approval.