Dolphins propose Sun Life Stadium upgrades

Miami Dolphins propose $400M modernization plan

(COURTESY: Miami Dolphins)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins proposed a modernization plan for Sun Life Stadium which could cost up to $400 million.

VOTE: Should public funds be used for stadium upgrade?

The team made the announcement Monday. CEO Mike Dee said a facelift of the aging 25-year-old facility intensified in recent months after South Florida became a finalist to host Super Bowl L.

The cost to improve Sun Life stadium is expected to range from $375 to $400 million dollars with the Dolphins funding a majority of the money needed, according to the team.

"Make no mistake, we're willing to pay our fair share," said Dee.

Owner Stephen Ross added the project would create at least 4,000 jobs.

"Therefore, I'm prepared to put up more than half for this," said Ross. "Also guarantee there'll be no cost overruns. We'll bare those."

Ross said the team would not seek an increase in tax dollars for Miami-Dade County residents. The rest of the money needed for the improvements would come from a sales tax rebate if the state approves it.

"I bought this team because I love this town. I went to high school here and built much of my business here," said Ross. "Like most Miamians, I believe no other community in America represents a better destination for blockbuster events. My goal is to secure the future of Miami-Dade and the Dolphins so we can remain a global competitor for sports and entertainment for at least another 25 years. That's why I'm willing to make the initial and most substantial investment in this project."

"World class communities deserve world class facilities and that's why we're willing to make this commitment and invest today," said Dee.

"A world-class community deserves world-class facilities," said Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman Rodney Barreto. "We are fortunate to have a person like Steve Ross who is willing to invest to help ensure the future of big events for Miami."

"There will be a lot of competition as we bid to host future college football championship games," said Orange Bowl President & Chairman Andrew Hertz. "We're ready to compete, and we need to put South Florida's best foot forward in all areas, including the facility, which we anticipate will be a key component of any bid package. If this proposed modernization were to move forward, we believe South Florida will have a better total package to offer than any community in the country."

Specific details on a financial proposal or how much the Dolphins would kick in were not immediately available.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos 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."

The project would be done in three phases.

The first phase would be construction efforts to preserve the aging structure. The second phase is fan enhancement, where the organization would:

  • More comfortable seats
  • New seating closer to the field
  • State-of-the art HD video screens
  • HD sports lighting
  • Modern escalators and elevators for fan transportation
  • Updated kitchens for better concession options

The third and final phase would be to add a canopy to cover most of the fans and field to shield the stadium from sun on extremely hot and humid days and to protect against rain on days of inclement weather.

"Our intention is to make Sun Life Stadium a world-class facility that is competition-ready for Super Bowls, college football championships, and global soccer events, as well as providing a much better environment to watch the Dolphins, Hurricanes and Orange Bowl every year," Ross said.  "I think our planned modernization will maintain the special outdoor flavor of Miami, while giving us the look of the best stadiums around the world."

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