Millions on the line for Miami Gardens in proposed Sun Life Stadium deal

City stands to lose tax dollars in new deal

Miami Times staff report | 3/13/2014, 9 a.m.
Miami Gardens stands to lose $1 million a year if Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wins tax breaks under a ...

Miami Gardens stands to lose $1 million a year if Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wins tax breaks under a new proposal with Miami-Dade County.

Ross announced his proposal on Monday asking county leaders to waive about $4 million in property taxes while he pays for $350 million for renovations and a new roof to Sun Life Stadium, located off 27th avenue and 199th Street. Ross hopes the renovations would bring a future Super Bowl championship to the venue, which would pump millions of dollars in Miami Gardens’ economy.

Currently, the stadium is Miami Gardens’ largest taxpayer. But under the proposal the city would lose ownership to the county who would classify the stadium as tax exempt like the Marlins baseball stadium in Little Havana and The American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami.

Sun Life Stadium represents 3.5 percent of the city’s total tax base, according Miami Gardens’ latest financial statement. The organization is also the city’s largest private company with about 1,200 employees.

The proposal is the latest campaign to lure the Super Bowl to Miami since the Dolphins failed to win the 2016 game last May. That’s when lawmakers in Tallahassee rejected the organization’s last-minute appeals to place a proposed hotel tax to fund renovations on a referendum for voters to decide in a special election.

Without the renovations, Miami lost the Super Bowl bid to San Francisco who will host the game in their new stadium that is currently under construction.

With little chance of gaining public funding, county leaders are already showing support for the proposal as newer, bigger, and flashier stadiums are being to built in other U.S. cities, making it difficult for the aging Sun Life Stadium to compete. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Jimenez has said he doesn’t believe the city will get another Super Bowl if the renovations are not made. He also said the latest proposal is better than the previous one that fizzled.

To accommodate for possible the loss, Dolphins executives are suggesting setting up special arrangements to protect Miami Gardens. One of them involving the Dophins making annual payments to the city instead of taxes.

Efforts to reach Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert for a comment on this story were unsuccessful.

In other Miami Gardens news, the special election for the $60 million bond referendum will be on April 21st.

City leaders want to use the money to construct and renovate parks and purchase crime prevention devices.

The general-obligation bond matures at 30 years and will the city’s 68,000 households an annual $46 per year. The interest rate on the bond would be about 4.25 percent.