| March 10, 2009 | 10:17am
Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.
Last week, Palm Beach businessman Glen Straub offered the Miami Arena site, which he owns and which is debt-free, as the spot where the Marlins could build a retractable domed stadium in the event the deal to build it at the Orange Bowl property falls apart.
The Miami Arena parcel certainly makes more sense for a baseball park. For one, it's right next to the Overtown Metrorail station which would encourage more fans from northern Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties to hop on Tri-Rail and Metrorail to go to the games. And there is plenty of parking already there as well. Heck, the county could even try and convince the federal government to finance the long-planned expansion of Metrorail along NW 27th Avenue to the county line by showing the benefits of encouraging baseball fans to use mass transit to get to the game.
Straub says he would build the ballpark with a combination of private funds and rental fees derived from local hotel taxes. The wealthy entrepreneur asserts that his plan would eliminate the need for the county and the city to issue a bond to cover construction of the new baseball facility. "This pay-as-you-go arrangement would avoid much of the estimated $1.6 billion in interest that would accrue," Straub noted in a three-page memo he sent to the local media this past March 3. "Additionally, the facility would remain on the property tax rolls."
That is a win-win for taxpayers and the community, but it's not the sweetheart deal Luria Loria has on the table right now. The city and the county are giving up the farm for Luria Loria. Under Straub's proposal, it doesn't appear that the Florida Marlins would get full control over gate receipts, naming rights, and everything else that would make the team attractive enough for Luria Loria to cash out and sell off the team.
And that is why the Marlins owner won't bite.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.