Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is speaking out about his offer to pay the entire tab for up to $400 million in Sun Life Stadium renovations in exchange for a property tax break, saying he decided to step up because a "world-class city needs a world-class stadium."
In a statement released Tuesday, Ross touted the potential economic benefits of upgrading the 27-year-old stadium. He said the investment would create 4,000 jobs and attract major events like the Super Bowl, the College Football Playoff Championship and world-class soccer matches to the region.
"We haven't won a Super Bowl bid in Miami-Dade in far too long, and we know that with the stadium as an issue, we never will unless it is modernized," Ross said in a statement. "The Super Bowl Committee will have to decide if they want to compete for the next two Super Bowls so time is of the essence. It is time to move forward."
Ross' statement came after Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel confirmed on the Joe Rose talk show on 560 WQAM that the county and Ross are discussing a proposal related to Sun Life renovations, including a partial canopy to shade seats that are now exposed and new seats closer to the field.
After renovations are complete the county will take ownership of the stadium. In return, Ross would get a property tax break of $3.8 million annually.
Some fans are weighing the benefits of the renovations against the cost to Miami Gardens; Sun Life ist the top taxpayer to Miami Gardens and the tax breaks for Ross mean the city will miss out on that income, possibly creating a funding shortage for schools, libraries and other services. But other fans NBC 6 South Florida spoke with on Tuesday were in favor.
"You tell Mr. Ross I said 'thank you' because I don’t want to pay any more taxes," fan Kevin Scott said.
“There’s no other way to do it, otherwise we are going to pay for it, all the taxpayers in the county are going to pay for it," Paul Bravo said.
Still, Bravo and others have expressed concerns about the impact the lost tax revenue from the deal would have on the community.
"The City of Miami Gardens is going to have problems I think, because most of the tax revenue comes from the stadium," Bravo said.
But many still think the deal is worth it.
"If he’s going to spend that type of money, he deserves to get the tax breaks," Scott said.