The Miami-Dade County Commission on Tuesday approved Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s plan for bonus payments to the Miami Dolphins for hosting marquee events in exchange for Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross being financially responsible for the $350 million renovation of the stadium without county assistance.
“I want to thank the Board of County Commissioners and Mayor Gimenez for approving this unique and creative plan to bring Super Bowls and other marquee events to Miami-Dade County,”?Ross said in a statement. “We have one of the world’s most aspirational cities and, as such, deserve a stadium that will provide significant economic impact to Miami-Dade County. This will not only secure the future of the Dolphins, but will ensure that Miami has one of the world’s best venues to host events of this magnitude going forward.”
The resolution, which was co-sponsored by District Commissioner Barbara Jordan, was approved around 1 p.m. Tuesday after approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes of discussion.
“I’m just excited that we can break ground and get started on creating a world-class facility for a world-class community,”?said Dolphins President & CEO?Tom Garfinkel. “Now the hard work really begins. We’ve got to get the renovation plans finalized, start construction and get it done.”
Garfinkel spoke before the county commission and the Dolphins delegation in downtown Miami included Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Marino and Larry Little, along with former Dolphins greats Jason Taylor, Dick Anderson and Nat Moore.
Taylor said it was important for former players to show their support.
“We are the Miami Dolphins,”?Taylor said. “All the former players, guys that live in this community still and make this home, we are the Miami Dolphins. It’s not just an owner or the players or the staff, it’s all of us included and it’s important for us to come out and support and do what we can to help. There’s plenty of politicians and lobbyists and all that that do the dirty work. We lend a hand where we can.”
As Marino pointed out, he played in the first-ever game at Sun Life Stadium back in the 1987 preseason, and he’s thrilled it’s about to get a facelift.
“I?think it’s great for the community,”?Marino said after the vote. “I’m a Dophins fan. It’s part of my life, playing there so many years. I’m excited that it’s going to be around and get a new look.”
With the agreement with Miami-Dade County in place, Garfinkel said the Dolphins intend to bid next spring for the next available Super Bowl, SB LIII to crown a champion in the 2018 season.
“That was part of the intent of trying to get it done,”?Garfinkel said. “We want to bring in as many marquee events as we can as soon as we can.
Garfinkel said the modernization of the stadium would be done in two stages and construction could begin within a few weeks. The goal is to have all of the work done before the start of the 2016 season.
The new deal was reached under what was termed a Performance-Based Marquee Event Grant Agreement.
The agreement, which is designed to help bring marquee events such as Super Bowls, college football championships, college football semifinals, World Cup soccer matches as well as other international soccer events, is for a period of 20 years.
The key points of the agreement: