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As he announced his plan for a $400 million makeover of Sun Life Stadium Monday, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross promised to approach the project very differently than other stadium financing deals in the past. He pledged to invest more personally and return more to the community than other stadium arrangements; invest a majority of the money into the stadium; and to keep the franchise playing in the stadium for the next 25 years. "Sun Life and Miami will really go together as Miami continues to grow," Ross said.
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross says Sun Life Stadium will need to undergo a $400 million makeover if Miami has any hopes of landing the 2016 Super Bowl and competing for other big events in the future.
Ross and team officials held a news conference Monday to lay out their plans to renovate the stadium, and said he's willing to pay for more than half of the construction costs.
"I've spent more on professional sports teams than anybody else in the United States," Ross said at the conference, where he was joined by officials from the University of Miami, the Orange Bowl and the Super Bowl Host Committee.
The renovations would include a partial roof, increased seating, better concessions, new lighting and video screens and other upgrades. The project would create at least 4,000 local jobs, Ross said.
Under Ross' plan, there would be no direct tax on taxpayers but rather a one cent bed tax increase in mainland Miami-Dade. The team would also get a sales tax break of $3 million per year off items sold at the stadium.
The goal would be to have the renovations complete in time to host the 2016 Super Bowl, the 50th anniversary of the event.
"If we get this done, we will get the 50th anniversary Super Bowl," Ross said.
It may be difficult to get political support in the wake of the backlash over the Marlins ballpark deal. Ross said they've spoken to county commissioners and understand the negative sentiments concerning stadium deals.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said he couldn't comment until he'd received an official proposal.
"We’ve had a discussion with the Dolphins on the need to enhance the existing facilities at the stadium, but until we receive an official proposal from them on what they plan to do, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the merits of the proposal," Gimenez said.