The ask comes with a "pledge to the community" -- but it's still an ask.
The Miami Dolphins on Monday unveiled a $400 million venue renovation plan for Sun Life Stadium they say will be completed by the 2015 season if taxpayers are willing to pay to up half of the costs.
Proposed upgrades would return the stadium to an original setup that was later compromised in order to accomodate the Florida Marlins. Among them:
- a $100 million canopy roof that would protect fans from wind and rain
- more comfortable seats
- HD sports lighting
- modern escalators and elevators for fans
- seating moved 18 feet closer to the field
- HD video screens
- updated kitchens
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"Any request for public investment will NOT include a request for taxes on the residents of Miami-Dade," reads the team's pledge, which also promises the franchise will remain playing in a modernized Sun Life stadium through "at least 2034."
Reports the Miami Herald:
Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said the team wasn't settled on a funding plan, but floated two sources of public dollars for the project.
The first: Increasing tax on mainland Miami-Dade hotels from six percent to seven percent. The second: A $3 million sales tax rebate from Florida on top of a $2 million rebate the stadium already receives.
"People ask why don't you pay for the whole thing?" [team owner Stephen] Ross said at the lunchtime press conference. "I've spent more on a sports team than anyone else in the United States. ...There's a limit to how much capital you can put into something."
Ross, well aware that voters may balk in the wake of the public swindling that is Marlins Park, pledged the project would create more than 4,000 local jobs and ensure Sun Life continues to compete for events including Super Bowls, college championship games, the Pan Am Games, professional soccer, and more.
Ross has been hankering for stadium upgrades -- including a partial roof -- since 2009, when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told him other league owners felt the venue "lagged behind" new stadiums.
Though the Miami Gardens venue is a front-runner for Super Bowl L alongside San Francisco, team officials were warned Miami would begin to lose out to newer, flashier venues.
The Orange Bowl Committee, fresh off what might have been a $25 million BCS title game, sent president and chairman Andrew Hertz to back Ross's plan.
“There will be a lot of competition as we bid to host future college football championship games," Hertz said. "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."
Still, using public funds may be a tough sell (go figure):
What do you think, readers? Do you want a modernized stadium if it requires public investment?