You've seen the cranes towering over the field once known as Dolphin Stadium as you cruise past on the Turnpike. You've wondered what exactly the home of Fins and Canes football fans will look like when it's finished, and you've heard the ominous rumblings that $500 million face-lift won't even be ready in time for the season.
Well, with less than a month to go before the Canes kick off their season against Florida A&M in the stadium, and just more than 30 days before the NFL season starts, those answers are all becoming clearer.
Here's what you need to know about Miami's newest renovated stadium.
Will it be finished in time?
For months, rumors dogged the Dolphins that their construction work was facing a Brazil Olympics-esque meltdown that would mean the Canes and Fins would be homeless at the beginning of their seasons. The University of Miami even admitted it was exploring possible alternative homes if the need arose.
Well, it looks like all of that anxiety was for naught. The Dolphins insist that the work will be done in time for the Canes' home opener September 3
"I don't know how many times I have to say it," CEO Tom Garfinkel told the Sun Sentinel last month, "but right now we're currently on schedule. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the stadium will be football-ready, would have been football-ready by Game 3 of the preseason, will now be football-ready by Game 4 of the preseason, which is before the University of Miami game."
Does the stadium have a new sponsor yet?
Nope. For now, the place still has the awkward moniker "New Miami Stadium." Feel free to continue calling it Dolphin Stadium.
Are taxpayers getting ripped off in this deal?
In a city still seething over the taxpayer bank heist known as Marlins Park, seeing the words "$500 million" and "stadium renovation" in the same sentence is sure to spark some heartburn.
Here's the good news: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and the NFL are picking up most of the tab for the work (the NFL will give the Dolphins a $200 million loan, and Ross will contribute $75 million).
The bad news is that taxpayers are definitely still helping to subsidize their billionaire football team owner's new project. The county will give Ross up to $5 million annually — for a total of up to $75 million — in exchange for luring big events such as the Super Bowl.
“The whole idea is economic development,” [New Miami Stadium lobbyist Ron] Book said this week. “I think the projects, whatever they are, will stand on their merits.”
How is the renovation looking?
As the finishing touches are being applied to the $425 million makeover, the stadium actually looks pretty damn good. Garfinkel has been posting renovation pics on Twitter and Instagram, and last week he posted some that look almost too good to be real.
Now that the new genetically enhanced Platinum TE Paspalum turf has been laid to dirt, the biggest concern left is how quickly the ceiling tiles will be applied. That's the greatest selling point of the new stadium design, which will cast shade over far more of the stadium's seats. According to Garfinkel, once those tiles are in place, fans can expect "a 20-to-30-degree difference” in temperature.
It's clear that the rickety, rundown, '90s-looking stadium in Miami Gardens is no more. In it's place is a field that looks like it was pulled straight out of a video game. Not only should football fans be excited by the finished product, but soccer and music fans should be as well.
Correction: An earlier version of this post misreported the overall cost of the stadium renovation and the state's planned contribution to the project.
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