Miami Dolphins unveil $400 million plan to renovate stadium; team set to pay more than half

 
WEB VOTE The Miami Dolphins will seek public funding to help pay for an estimated $400 million stadium renovation. Do you support that?

abeasley@miamiherald.com

The Miami Dolphins unveiled a roughly $400 million renovation plan of Sun Life Stadium on Monday, and asked taxpayers to fund up to half of the project.

Majority owner Stephen Ross pledged to fund at least a majority of the project, which would be completed by the start of the 2015 season — in time to host Super Bowl L.

Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said the team wasn’t settled on a funding plan, but floated two sources of public dollars for the project.

The first: Increasing tax on mainland Miami-Dade hotels from six percent to seven percent. The second: A $3 million sales tax rebate from Florida on top of a $2 million rebate the stadium already receives.

“People ask why don’t you pay for the whole thing?” Ross said at the lunchtime press conference. “I’ve spent more on a sports team than anyone else in the United States. … There’s a limit to how much capital you can put into something.”

The first step will have a Dolphins-backed bill introduced in the Florida legislature for the rebate and for lifting Miami-Dade’s 6 percent cap on hotel taxes. Then, Miami-Dade commissioners would have to approve the higher bed tax.

The centerpiece of the proposed renovation is a $100 million canopy that would shield game-goers from both the sun and the rain. Also on the drawing board: improved seating and new scoreboards.

Ross said as part of the deal, the Dolphins would pledge to remain in Miami Gardens for the next 25 years.

The team also argued the renovations were essential to keep the team in the running for future Super Bowls, college national championship games, international sporting events like Pan-Am games and a planned major soccer event, which details were not made available Monday.

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