The Miami Dolphins and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez have reached "an unprecedented public-private partnership" to modernize Sun Life Stadium, team owner Stephen Ross announced Monday night.
Gimenez said earlier Monday that a framework for a deal to give funding from Miami-Dade County to the Dolphins for renovations to Sun Life Stadium was in place. The Dolphins would receive about $7.5 million a year in hotel taxes to renovate the Miami Gardens stadium if county voters approve, The Miami Herald reported.
"We look forward to working with the County Commission to ensure that the voters of Miami-Dade have the final say on creating more than 4,000 jobs and pumping millions of dollars into the local economy," Ross said in a statement. "When the people of Miami-Dade go to the polls, we are confident they will support this partnership, where the Dolphins will pay approximately 70 percent costs, will repay approximately $167 million to the state and county, will pay for 100 percent of any cost overruns during construction, and will be committed to staying in Miami-Dade for the next 30 years."
Commissioners are expected to meet Wednesday about the deal. If they agree, the plan would go before voters in a May 14 referendum. Gimenez has said the team would pay for the election.
Under the agreement, the county would increase its mainland hotel tax rate from 6 percent to 7 percent, then give the team 75 percent of the new revenue up to $7.5 million in the first year, the Herald reported. The cap would increase by 3 percent every year thereafter.
After 30 years, the team would refund between $110 million and $120 million to Miami-Dade, according to the Herald.
The team has offered to scrap the plan altogether if it is not awarded Super Bowl L or LI by the NFL later this spring, and will pay penalties if the renovated stadium does not attract a certain number of Super Bowls, BCS games, international soccer matches and other similar events over the next three decades.
“This is really about bringing marquee events to Miami-Dade,’’ Gimenez told the Herald. “This is a very, very favorable deal when you compare it to other stadium deals around the country."
Dolphins President Mike Dee acknowledged that team and county officials worked through Sunday night trying to hammer out a deal.
"Well, we've been at it for a long time, since yesterday, and we continue to work at it," Dee told reporters Monday. "I wish I could be as confident as the mayor is that we're gonna reach an agreement, I think we've got a lot of work left to do."
After the deal was reached, Ross said Gimenez deserved "tremendous credit for making it happen."
"I love this community and nothing would make me prouder than watching the Miami Dolphins play a Super Bowl in a modernized Sun Life Stadium," he said. "That's more than a dream for me – it’s a goal I will work toward every day. I know that together we can make it happen."
Ross wants to use state and local dollars to help pay for $400 million worth of renovations to the stadium. Bills now moving through the Legislature call for the state to pay $3 million a year for the next 30 years in the form of sales tax rebates. The Dolphins have agreed to pay back $47 million of that.
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