Marlin Money Pit to Cost County $2.4 Billion

Construction costs for ballpark will squeeze county for four decades

The price tag says $515 million, but by the time the new Marlins stadium is paid off 40 years from now, it will have cost a whopping $2.4 billion.

How's that for sticker shock.

Earlier estimates put the total costs at about $2 billion, but thanks to rising interest rates, the people of Miami-Dade will have to pony up even more for the field of dreams in Little Havana.

Suddenly, the $120 million the Marlins are contributing doesn't seem like very much.

"It is very expensive money," County Commissioner Katy Sorenson, who voted against the deal, told the Miami Herald. "Who knows what we could have gotten out of them if we had tougher negotiators."

To finance construction, the county will have to repay $409 million in bonds, three-fourths of which will be paid back at 6.4 and 8.17 percent per year.

Supporters of the deal say it's no different than financing a car or house, where the buyer ends up paying much more in the long run.

But most people don't finance a $400 million house over 40 years.

"Miami had the unfortunate luck of trying to deal with a market where it is difficult to finance anything," Mark Rosentraub, a sports management professor at the University of Michigan, told the Herald. "The hope is it can be refinanced, and that has been done many times before [at other stadiums].''

The 37,000-seat retractable-roof stadium should be ready by Opening Day 2012. Preliminary construction began last week, and there will be an official groundbreaking on July 18.

Hundreds of eager construction workers camped out last night to be the first to submit applications in the hopes of landing a job at the massive project. The Hunt-Moss construction company said more than 1,300 people had signed up Tuesday night to do work on the ballpark.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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