The Dolphins are looking for a new home.
Miramar has the land and a pretty sweet deal.
That is why the Southwest Broward bedroom town is on a very short list to land the team's headquarters, should the Dolphins move from Davie.
Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam told residents Thursday about a very preliminary plan to lease a 21-acre plot of land between Everglades High School and Glades Middle School to the Dolphins for a self-funding new practice facility.
While the terms of the nascent financial deal were not made public Thursday, the Dolphins would be headquartered there for at least the next two decades, leasing the land for a negligible amount.
This is only possible because the Dolphins are considering (but certainly not set on) a move from their Nova Southeastern home for the last quarter-century.
"Our benefits would come from a community benefit package, direct and indirect economic benefits of having the Dolphins here in our community," Messam said after the 90-minute open forum. "It would be more of a comprehensive deal. The Dolphins will be fully funding and financing their own construction of their site. There will be no public dollars that will go into the construction of the facility."
The team is considering three sites in Miami-Dade and Broward, but were not prepared Thursday to name the others.
The Dolphins want additional training facility space for their locker room, cafeteria, weight room and physical therapy room, among other upgrades. But a source said they have by no means ruled out making those upgrades at Nova Southeastern.
The Dolphins are still evaluating whether there's enough space on the Nova campus to achieve everything they would like to do and how much those upgrades would cost if they remain at Nova.
The Dolphins’ contract with Nova includes a series of three-year options than run through 2033, according to Nova president George Hanbury. Asked if he would be receptive to the Dolphins leaving in the middle of one of those three-year options, he said: “That’s something we would have to discuss. We’ve never looked at it as a tenant/landlord. We’ve looked as partner in community.”
Hanbury declined to say if there was any financial penalty for the Dolphins leaving during their contract. But Hanbury made clear the Dolphins can stay as long as they would like.
“I am sure other cities would love to have the Dolphins,” he said. “Any business is always looking for opportunities. That’s a business decision on their part. We are very happy to have the Dolphins on our campus. They have got opportunities to stay there as long as they want.”
He also said the Dolphins “have options for further expansion on our campus” if they decide to remain long-term.
As part of the Dolphins’ agreement with the university, Nova students receive free tickets to games, Hanbury said, and “the Dolphins agreed to have their trainers and coaches speak to our students” occasionally.
Miramar would look for a more robust partnership, based on Messam's presentation Thursday, and Dolphins officials insist they will be great neighbors, regardless of where they end up.
The proposed Miramar site would be a few miles west of Interstate 75, between Dykes Road and Southwest 172 Avenue, bordered by Bass Creek Road to the north.
Messam said that Bass Creek would likely be expanded from two to four lanes, should the Dolphins move there.
The facility would include a field house with an indoor field, two regulation-sized outdoor practice field, offices, training and weight rooms and lockers.
The deal would likely need to include some sort of property tax incentive for the Dolphins, Messam said. Construction would be completed in approximately two years from the time an agreement is reached.
"We haven't ranked these sites, but Miramar has location, location, location," said Marcus Bach-Armas, the team's senior director of legal and government affairs. "It's a great place to work, it's a great place to play."