Framework of Sun Life Stadium deal reached

Miami-Dade County, Miami Dolphins closer to reaching deal

MIAMI - Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami Dolphins CEO Mike Dee appear to differ on how close the two sides are to reaching a deal about the county's involvement in the renovations at Sun Life Stadium.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said a deal needed to be reached Monday so the commission could study it, then meet Wednesday to put it to a local referendum.

"We're talking about an economic development grant, basically a stream of money. The Dolphins will be able to use that to finance and sell bond for the renovation to the stadium," Gimenez told Local 10's Glenna Milberg. "The county will not be financing anything. It's just a stream of money from a tax that has yet to be imposed, that we're not even legally allowed to do that yet. That's the framework."

"The economic development grant funded by this as-yet to be decided upon bed tax increase?" asked Milberg.

"Correct, and then there are penalties for non performance," replied Gimenez. "For instance, the Dolphins said they need this to bring premiere events to Miami-Dade, so we have benchmarks. If they don't meet those premiere event benchmarks, there are penalties for non performance."

"We've been at it a long time, since yesterday," said Mike Dee, the chief executive officer of the Miami Dolphins. "We continue to work at it. I wish I could be as confident as the mayor is that we will reach an agreement. I think we have a lot of work left to do."

Dee didn't specify where the two sides differed.

"I wouldn't want to handicap it. We're not as close as reports have indicated. We've got work to do," Dee added. "There are differences between the two sides and we continue to work at it to bridge the gap."

The director of the Florida Division of Elections said Friday the Dolphins can pay for a referendum so voters can decide if local hotel bed taxes can be used to help pay for renovations at the stadium.

The Dolphins have offered to pay the county and the state back the money it receives from a sales tax rebate of $3 million a year for 30 years.

The state legislature is considering a bill that would authorize the rebate and also raise the hotel bed tax in mainland Miami-Dade by one percent, which would give the Dolphins $120 million. Under the Senate version of the bill, the Dolphins would have to compete for that money with other professional sports franchises in the state.

The Dolphins say that their 25-year-old stadium needs $390 million in improvements to remain competitive with newer stadiums around the NFL.

The Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers, who will move into a new stadium next year, are vying for Super Bowl L in 2016.  The loser will compete against the Houston Texans to host Super Bowl LI in 2017.

NFL team owners will announce the locations of Super Bowls L and LI on May 22 in Boston.

The local referendum must be held by May 14 before the owners announce where Super Bowls L and LI are held.

"It needs to happen today. That's why their folks and our folks have actually been literally working through the night," said Gimenez.

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