Marlins Firesale Scared Away Businesses From Setting Up at the Ballpark

Marlins Park was at the very least supposed to be something of an economic engine for the surrounding Little Havana neighborhood, but like so many other things promised about the deal, that turned out to be a lie, too.

The Miami Herald reports this morning that three tenants who were interested in leasing retail space in the city owned parking garages at Marlins Park backed out of the deal after team owner Jeffrey Loria sold off all his star talent.

Locally-owned Marco's Pizza had signed a letter of intent to move into the parking garage retail space, but it was the first to get cold feet after the firesale in November and backed out of the deal.

Then in January, a small national chain called Firefly followed suit. Now a chain called Tilted Kilt has backed out of a deal after contentious lease negotiations with the city-owned and Miami Parking Authority-controlled garages. They also noted that the firesale was the ultimate "nail in the coffin."

"Obviously, the Marlins didn't help in regards to their off-season moves," Miami Parking Authority Chief Executive Art Noriega told the Herald. "Then everything went ice cold."

So far, the garages only have three tenants: a cigar store, a sports bar called Cafe Rubio and a Subway sandwich shop. None of those stores are actually open yet, though they all plan to start business over the summer.

The city, of course, is desperate to get paying tenants into the remaining retail space, in part to at least cover some of the debt incurred by financing the stadium deal. Marlins president David Samson claims he's offered to help the city find new tenants, but unsurprisingly the city hasn't been to eager to rely on Samson for business advice.

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