Miami Strikes Out in Marlins Parking Garage Deal

City liable for millions in taxes on new stadium thanks to deal's clause

By Hank Tester and Brian Hamacher
|  Wednesday, Nov 23, 2011  |  Updated 11:32 PM EDT
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It appears the City of Miami struck out when it agreed to spend $100 million to build parking garage for the new Marlins stadium, after it was revealed the city will be responsible for paying millions in property taxes while the team profits.

It appears the City of Miami struck out when it agreed to spend $100 million to build parking garage for the new Marlins stadium, after it was revealed the city will be responsible for paying millions in property taxes while the team profits.

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It appears the City of Miami struck out when it agreed to spend $100 million to build parking garage for the new Marlins stadium, after it was revealed the city will be responsible for paying millions in property taxes while the team profits.

The issue centers around the 5,700 parking spots in the four garages, which the city is leasing to the team for $10 a piece. In order for the spots to be tax-free they have to be used for a public purpose.

But when the city leased the spots to the team, they entered into a private enterprise and became taxable. The Marlins have free reign to charge whatever they want for the spaces.

The deal between the county and the team includes a clause that leaves the city liable for taxes on the project, including the $1.5 million to $2 million every year for the parking spots.

The city borrowed the $100 million for the parking project through bonds.

Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, who wasn't for the $650 million stadium from the beginning, said the tax bill made it a "worse deal than I could have imagined."

"This is a bad deal that went worse, went sour, worse than we thought," Regalado said Wednesday. "That tax will seriously hurt the City of Miami and the taxpayer will have to foot the bill."

Regalado said he and county appraiser Pedro Garcia will meet with the team next week to discuss the issue, but said the Marlins have repeatedly said in the past that they won't renegotiate the contract.

The Marlins didn't comment Wednesday.

Garcia said he hopes the two sides can't come to some sort of new agreement when he meets with the team.

"It would be a great opportunity for them to show support for the city," Garcia said.

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