With the Miami Dade Commission set to vote this afternoon on whether to blow hundreds of millions of your tax dollars during the worst recession in a generation on a new Marlins Stadium (not that we've got a stance on this thing or anything), downtown developer Glenn Straub sent a new memo to commissioners today further detailing his far too logical counter-proposal.
Why not another stadium where this one used to sit?
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Straub owns the former downtown site of the Miami Arena free and clear, and has already pitched his idea on how to keep the Marlins in town without bankrupting the city.
In short, Straub says he'd build a new stadium on the land with a combination of his own money and conventional financing. The Marlins would be on the hook for a lease with six-percent interest, and the deal would cost far less than a Little Havana stadium because it would already have Metrorail access and plenty of parking.
In his new memo, Straub criticizes the city for giving the Marlins a sweetheart deal and offers commissioners a slick packet of artist renderings for his proposal from R.E. Chisholm Architects.
"Two years ago, I made the offer to discuss building the ballpark downtown with our family doing the financing," Straub says in the memo. "At that time the county was not in the financial crisis we are experiencing today. No one seemed to care then how much debt we incurred and how or if it could ever be repaid. It seemed like everyone would build first and figure out how to pay for it later."
Read an excerpt from Straub's proposal after the jump. Shouldn't commissioners at least give this guy a listen today?
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THE FINANCIAL TERMS
Two years ago I made the offer to discuss building the ballpark downtown with our family doing the financing. But by this time a deal had already been struck between the City, county and the Marlins. The team had an offer it could not refuse no matter where the stadium was built.
At that time our country was not in the financial crisis we are experiencing today. No one seemed to care then how much debt we incurred and how or if it could ever be repaid. It seemed like everyone would build first and figure out how to pay for it later. This philosophy has not served us well.
I do not want anyone to think that I would offer the team the same terms as the city and county. These terms in today's world make no financial sense. I may as well hand to them a check for two billion dollars and call it a gift as make the deal that has been agreed to. I will not do that and the taxpayers of Miami-Dade should not be asked to either.
I find it impossible to believe that this has gone this far without someone demanding to know if the bonds funding this project can actually be sold. I have not seen a firm commitment from any reputable financial firm guaranteeing that they can place the bonds at a certain interest rate that the city and county can afford. To the contrary, I have seen plenty of press how the bonds cannot be re paid.
Before this project goes any further, someone should demand a firm commitment to purchase the bonds be presented for review. Until this is done not a single dime should be spent on this project.
I am proposing an arm's length transaction for a lease between us and Major League Baseball, the city and the county. The lease I propose is computed on a six per cent interest rate with all expenses being paid by the tenant.
The lease payments cannot be determined until we know what accessories will be required (such as retractable roof, number of executive suites and number of restaurants).
I have offered to take the Orange Bowl property as partial payment of the lease cost, if that is of interest to the city and county.
No bonds would have to be sold to pay for this project. It would be funded totally through private financing.
I would be making available the land free and clear and putting up half of the cost in cash. The balance would be financed by conventional financing using the lease as collateral.
I would anticipate my overall cost to be substantially below that of the Orange Bowl site because there would be no need for the parking garages and other infrastructure such as people movers .
I also anticipate being able to deliver the facility to the team much earlier due to the elimination of these unnecessary features.
If the team wanted to reduce the lease payments, they could buy down the lease with an upfront payment. This is how leases are done everyday in business. I am also willing to provide that the team, the city or county would have the right to purchase the stadium from me for what I have invested, if at any time in the future, that makes sense to the parties.
I would require in the lease provisions detailing what would happen if the team was sold or left town. Plain and simple fact is this would be a bone fide business deal in no way resembling the proposal currently on the table at the Orange Bowl site.