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Miami Ballpark
Marlins Ballpark
Marlins09Ballpark1.JPG
New rendering for Miami Ballpark
Location 1501 NW 3rd St, Miami, Florida 33125
Coordinates 25°46′41″N 80°13′11″W / 25.77806°N 80.21972°W / 25.77806; -80.21972Coordinates: 25°46′41″N 80°13′11″W / 25.77806°N 80.21972°W / 25.77806; -80.21972
Broke ground July 1, 2009 (Start of construction preparations)
July 18, 2009 (Ceremonial Groundbreaking) [1]
Opened April 2012 (projected)
Owner Miami-Dade County
Operator Miami Marlins
Surface Grass
Construction cost $515 million
Architect Populous[2]
Structural engineer Bliss and Nyitray, Inc.
Capacity 37,000 (approx.)[3]
Field dimensions Left Field Line - 340 feet (104 m)
Left-Center Power Alley - 384 feet (117 m)
"Bermuda Triangle" In Left-Center - 420 feet (128 m)
Center Field - 416 feet (127 m)
Right-Center Power Alley - 392 feet (119 m)
Right Field Line - 335 feet (102 m)
Backstop: - TBD ft (TBD m)
Tenants
Miami Marlins (MLB) (2012- )

The Florida Marlins' new ballpark, known as Miami Ballpark in official documents, is an approved ballpark that is being built a mile west of Downtown Miami in the area known as "Little Havana". It will be located at the site of the former Miami Orange Bowl. Upon completion, the new stadium will become home to the Florida Marlins, which will change their name to the Miami Marlins when moving into the stadium[4].

Construction began on July 1, 2009.[5] The Marlins hope to move into their new home in April 2012. The stadium will become the sixth Major League Baseball stadium to have a retractable roof. With a planned seating capacity of 37,000, it will be the third-smallest stadium in Major League Baseball by official capacity, and the smallest by actual capacity. The Marlins are pushing to have the new ballpark host the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.[6]

Contents

History

Sun Life Stadium (current name) has been home to the Marlins since their inception into Major League Baseball in 1993.

Since the inception of the Florida Marlins in April 1993, the team has always played its home games at the currently named Sun Life Stadium, a facility that was originally built for football. The team has to share the stadium with the NFL's Miami Dolphins and (as of 2008) college football's Miami Hurricanes.

Sun Life Stadium had been designed from the ground up to accommodate baseball; Dolphins founder Joe Robbie believed it was a foregone conclusion that MLB would come to South Florida. Even so, the sight lines for baseball leave much to be desired. Many of the seats in the upper deck are so far away that the Marlins don't even sell them during the regular season. This problem was showcased during the Marlins' two World Series runs in 1997 and 2003; many fans could only see the game on the replay boards because their seats were in areas that are not part of the football playing field.

The Marlins have been trying for more than a decade to relocate to their own new ballpark. Their fight for a new stadium began at the end of the 1990s when then-owner John W. Henry unveiled his vision for a new baseball-only venue. During that time, several plans were developed on where a new ballpark should be built. After the Marlins won the World Series in 2003, both team management and Miami-Dade County officials announced plans to fund a new ballpark. Soon after, the city decided not to help the team pay for a new stadium. However, in January 2004, the City of Miami proposed building a baseball-only stadium for the Marlins at the site of the Miami Orange Bowl that would adjoin the existing football stadium along its northern flank.

In May 2004, Miami-Dade County commissioners agreed to fund their portion of a new stadium. The Miami Dolphins notified the Marlins in December 2004 that they would terminate their lease at Land Shark Stadium following the 2010 season if no stadium deal appears imminent.

One of the biggest steps in the Marlins getting a new ballpark came in February 2005 when Miami-Dade County officials unveiled a financial plan for a $420-$435 million ballpark and parking garage for the Florida Marlins east of the Miami Orange Bowl. However, in May 2005, the Marlins' struggles with the Florida House Legislation continued, as their funding requests of $45 million for a new ballpark were rejected.

An artist's 2004 rendering of the future Marlins stadium with the roof closed and open with the now-demolished Miami Orange Bowl (right)

In November 2005, the Marlins' negotiations with the City of Miami officially broke down. The failure to work out a stadium deal caused the Marlins to undergo their second fire sale in franchise history, or as the Marlins called it, Market Correction. They ended up trading away Carlos Delgado, Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett, Luis Castillo, and Juan Pierre following the 2005 season. In the end, the Marlins remained committed to remaining in Miami, but also explored other possible options for re-location should no stadium deal be worked out.

In 2007, the Marlins turned down an offer from San Antonio, Texas officials to approve a funding vote for a new stadium to be built there. Instead, there were new signs of hope by Florida Governor Charlie Crist and Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina. After exploring other options at the former site of the Miami Arena and in Hialeah, the Miami Hurricanes announced they were leaving the Orange Bowl, paving the way for the stadium to be built there.

In December 2007, the Miami-Dade County Commission voted in favor of two proposals that would assist in funding. City and County Commissioners voted on February 21, 2008 to approve funding for a new ballpark for the Marlins. The total cost is expected to be approximately $515 million. The proposal calls for the Marlins to contribute $155 million, Miami-Dade County to contribute $347 million (about $297 million of which would come from tourist tax dollars), and the City of Miami to contribute $13 million.

Construction of the new stadium was put on hold because of a lawsuit filed by auto dealer Norman Braman. However, on November 21, 2008, Circuit Judge Jeri Beth Cohen signed an order that said that a voter referendum was not required for the 37,000-seat stadium's financing plan. That decision was the final remaining charge of Braman's original seven arguments, and Judge Cohen ruled in favor of the Marlins in all of them.

Despite the success of the Florida Marlins in court, the initial plan to have the 37,000-seat retractable-roof stadium ready for Opening Day 2011 was pushed back. Team officials now plan to break ground July 2009 and have the new ballpark ready for Opening Day 2012.[7]

The last step involved voting on five documents (City/parking agreement; operating agreement; construction/administration agreement; non-relocation agreement; and the assurance agreement, where all parties are bound by all agreements) by commissioners from the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County. The vote was to be on January 22, 2009 but the 2009 Presidential Inauguration delayed it. If all the documents are agreed upon, that could make the team's retractable-roof ballpark become official.[8]

The Marlins' lease at Sun Life Stadium runs out following the 2010 season. However, current Dolphin Stadium owner Stephen M. Ross has left open the possibility of extending the Marlins' lease if the new stadium's opening appears imminent.

The Marlins hoped to have had final approval on the stadium on February 13, 2009, but were blindsided by an unexpected, last-minute bid by Commissioner Marc Sarnoff to secure a series of financial concessions from the two-time World Series champions. The Marlins were left in a 2-2 tie in the city commission, but stadium supporter Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones was on maternity leave and was not there to vote.[9]

An artist's rendering of the future Marlins Ballpark, with the retractable roof open at the front gate. The retractable roof was an essential element in the stadium deal.

On March 19, 2009, Miami commissioners approved building the new stadium in a 3-2 vote. Those supporting the stadium deal were Joe Sanchez, Angel Gonzalez and Michelle Spence-Jones. Against the deal were Marc Sarnoff and Tomás Regalado. Also approved, by a 4-1 vote, was a bid waiver for a private contractor to work around the facility. A super majority was required for the bid waiver, and Sarnoff joined the majority. The final issue before the commission, dealing with an inter-local agreement, passed unanimously. With approval by the county, the team would change its name to the Miami Marlins.[10]

On March 23, 2009, after more than nine hours of debate, Miami-Dade County commissioners answered the Florida Marlins' 15-year quest for a permanent home by agreeing to bankroll a big share of a $634 million stadium complex to rise on the grounds of the old Orange Bowl site. The vote was 9-4. Voting in favor of the stadium were Commissioners Dennis Moss, Bruno Barreiro, Audrey Edmonson, Natacha Seijas, Javier Souto, Barbara Jordan, Dorrin Rolle, Jose Pepe Diaz and Rebeca Sosa. Also, by a 10-3 vote, commissioners approved a bid waiver for the stadium's construction manager. The votes drew applause in the chamber. The Marlins hope to begin play on Opening Day 2012, under a new name: The Miami Marlins.[11],[12]

On April 1, 2009, Miami’s planning board voted 6-1 to approve the overall construction permit for the Marlins' new ballpark.[13] MLB president Bob DuPuy said the ballpark will get an All-Star Game within a few years of its opening. The Marlins will apply for the 2013 World Baseball Classic finals.

In the early hours of July 1, 2009, Miami-Dade County commissioners cast the final vote on a set of last-minute changes that cleared the way for the sale of more than $300 million in bonds to pay for construction of a new baseball stadium in Little Havana. The last minute changes were due to the fact that the sale of bonds to pay for a new baseball fell short of expectations on Wall Street the day before, prompting a scramble at County Hall and the last-minute pledge by the Florida Marlins to cover the funding difference. The idea was to raise $306 million on Monday and Tuesday by issuing bonds backed by tourist taxes but it was off by $6.2 million. fetching a higher-than-expected interest rate, thereby reducing the proceeds to the county.

Design

The Marlins announced that the new stadium will retain some of the features that Sun Life Stadium currently has, especially the outfield dimensions. The deepest part of the new ballpark will be 420 feet (130 m) from home plate, and then it will slant down to 416 feet (127 m) in straight-away center field. The "power alley" in right-center will be 392 feet (119 m). The shortest dimension will be 335 feet (102 m) down the right-field line. The vast area in the "power alley" in left-center at Sun Life Stadium, also known as "The Bermuda Triangle", will also transfer to the new stadium. At FanFest in 2009, team President David Samson announced that the shallow left field and deep right field at Dolphin Stadium will be flip-flopped at the new ballpark.

Interior view of Marlins Ballpark at night with the view of Downtown Miami in left field.
The New Marlins Stadium at 5th street looking west at the future plaza.

Still uncertain is the actual height of the wall, although it will definitely vary. Sun Life Stadium currently has the "Teal Tower" or "Teal Monster" at 26 1/2 feet in left field, while the rest of the wall is set at 8 feet (2.4 m). In addition, there will be a party suite for fans to have the ability to look out at the field from behind the outfield fence.[14]

When an updated rendering of Marlins Ballpark showed generic blue seats, a group of fans started an online petition to have the seats changed to teal. The fans known as "Project Teal" are trying to make Marlin Ballpark unique to the Marlins after 16 years playing at Sun Life Stadium. Their goal is to have Marlin Teal as recognizable as Dodger Blue and Cardinal Red. As of now, Marlin President David Samson has dismissed the idea of teal seats.

Borrowing pages from Chase Field in Phoenix and Citi Field in New York, the Marlins will have a pool area in left field and a porch in right field. The porch in right field will not exactly be like the one at Citi Field, which is similar to the porch at old Tiger Stadium in Detroit. Instead of extending into the playing field, it will be set back into the stands, but the concept is basically the same as New York. [15] Left field will also feature an operable glass wall that will slide across and open to a view of Downtown Miami.

Stretching the length of four football fields, the plaza surrounding the ballpark will be the largest of any stadium in the history of the United States and feature entertainment, President David Samson said. Taste of Miami food courts will offer croquetas, sushi and stone crabs. Miami Mayor Manny Diaz said a hotel, restaurants and retail stores likely will be built around the ballpark; City Manager Pete Hernandez said an ESPN Zone restaurant is a possibility. [16]

The retractable roof is expected to open in approximately 14 minutes and will consist of 8,300 tons of steel which is the exact weight of the Eiffel Tower. The temperature in the new ballpark will average a comfortable 75 degrees Fahrenheit with the roof closed. The new ballpark could also be the first retractable roof ballpark to be Silver Certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). [17]

Public Art

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, a noted art collector, has commissioned several works of art for around the stadium.

Home Run Feature: Dead centerfield is expected to have a home run feature akin to Citi Field's Home Run Apple but different in design and feel. The piece, designed by world-renowned multimedia pop artist Red Grooms, will be located behind the outfield wall, partially visible during a game. It is expected to be 50 feet to 60 feet tall, with bright pink, blue, aqua, and orange colors along with many moving parts. The art feature will rise from a pool of Grooms-designed water and dotted with clouds, pelicans and seagulls. Marlins will jump and laser lights will shine. The home run feature is budgeted at $2.5 million and included in the $515 million cost of the 37,000-seat retractable roof ballpark under construction. [18]

Entrance/Plaza Paving: Pop artist Carlos Cruz-Diez was selected for his colorful and distinctive paving design in the west entrance plaza of the stadium.[19]

Commemorative Marker: Daniel Arsham/Snarkitecture were commissioned to design a work to commemorate the former Miami Orange Bowl, which was demolished to make way for the new stadium. The piece uses the letters from the original "Miami Orange Bowl" sign as the basis for the ten foot tall orange concrete letters rearranged across the east plaza so that they form new words as visitors move around them.[20]

Column Illumination: Daniel Arsham/Snarkitecture were also selected for the lighting of the four super columns which support the retractable roof. The lighting is designed to give the illusion of the columns being concealed and revealed through programmable LED lights that fade up and down the columns in subtly shifting patterns, evoking the rhythm of a human breath.[21]

Financing

Total Cost: $515 million

Not included were the extra $10 million that went toward the demolition of the Orange Bowl stadium, the site preparation outside of the construction budget, as well as the parking garage.

The total cost is: $2.4 billion, spread over 40 years, to repay $409 million in bonds that will primarily, though not exclusively, cover stadium construction. Roughly $100 million will refinance existing bond debt and another $9 million goes into a debt service reserve fund. The result is $300 million for stadium construction, financed in two ways. One portion, underwritten by Merrill Lynch totaling $220 million, has an interest rate of 6.4 percent and requires immediate repayment. In October 2010 the county must pay $9.6 million, though there are questions over whether tourist taxes will meet that. Annual payments run through 2049 and climb as high as $71 million per year.

The second portion, underwritten by JP Morgan, is for $91 million, $80 million of that for construction. That carries an 8.17 rate, but repayment doesn't begin until 2025.

Yet that grace period comes with a big price: $83 million a year for three years starting in 2038. Then, starting in 2041, six years of payments totaling $118 million annually. Total cost to retire the debt: $1.2 billion.[22]

Comparison to Sun Life Stadium

Characteristic Sun Life Stadium* Marlins Stadium
Opening Day April 5, 1993 April, 2012
Capacity 38,560** 37,000 (approx.)
Backstop
58 feet (17.7 m)
TBD
Left Field 330 feet (100.6 m) 340 feet (103.6 m)
Left Center 361 feet (110.0 m) 384 feet (117.0 m)
Center Field 404 feet (123.1 m) 416 feet (126.8 m)
Right Center 361 feet (110.0 m) 392 feet (119.5 m)
Right Field 345 feet (105.2 m) 335 feet (102.1 m)
Sources: The Florida Marlins
*Controlled by Dolphins
**As of 2008; Expandable to more than 67,000 during MLB playoffs.

Construction gallery

Relative location

See also

References

  1. ^ http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090608&content_id=5206556&vkey=news_fla&fext=.jsp&c_id=fla
  2. ^ . http://portfolio.populous.com/projects/marlinsballpark.html. 
  3. ^ www.worldstadiums.com
  4. ^ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/news/070524/story7.shtml
  5. ^ http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090701&content_id=5637446&vkey=news_fla&fext=.jsp&c_id=fla
  6. ^ http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100216&content_id=8079192&vkey=news_fla&fext=.jsp&c_id=fla
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090106&content_id=3734104&vkey=news_fla&fext=.jsp&c_id=fla
  9. ^ http://www.miamiherald.com/486/story/903725.html
  10. ^ http://www.miamiherald.com/news/breaking-news/story/957815.html
  11. ^ http://www.miamiherald.com/1460/story/964462.html
  12. ^ http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/baseball/florida-marlins/story/968151.html
  13. ^ http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/stories/2009/03/30/daily57.html
  14. ^ Officially released data
  15. ^ http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090511&content_id=4675082&vkey=news_fla&fext=.jsp&c_id=fla
  16. ^ http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/story/966030.html
  17. ^ http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/fla/ballpark/index.jsp
  18. ^ http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/florida-marlins/fl-marlins-1216-20091215,0,2974369.story
  19. ^ Joe Frisaro (2009-12-18). "Marlins select artists for new ballpark". MLB Advanced Media, L.P.. http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20091218&content_id=7828988&vkey=news_fla&fext=.jsp&c_id=fla. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  20. ^ Janie Campbell. "Ballpark's Public Tribute to Daytona Beach Approved". NBC Universal, Inc.. http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/sports/Marlins-Home-Run-Feature-to-Feature-Lasers-79545612.html. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  21. ^ Joe Frisaro (2009-12-18). "Marlins select artists for new ballpark". MLB Advanced Media, L.P.. http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20091218&content_id=7828988&vkey=news_fla&fext=.jsp&c_id=fla. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  22. ^ http://www.miamiherald.com/457/story/1131885.html

External links

Preceded by
Sun Life Stadium (1993-2010)
No stadium deal announced currently, attempting to extend current deal with Sun Life Stadium for 1-year option
(2011)
Succeeded by
Marlins Ballpark (2012-)
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