21 August 2007

Keeping up with the Joneses - Summer '07

It's been six months since the last progress report. This is a snapshot of where four teams are as of today.

Nothing's changed here on the progress bars since February. The development app hasn't been submitted yet, and recent presentations have been good on the conceptual level but have been short on details. The unique funding method is dependent on rezoning industrial land to commercial/residential, so you'll see the top two bars move together or not at all.

Last week, Marlins President David Samson and Bud Selig
both let loose the veiled threat of relocation, saying that there hasn't been much progress on either the site-finding or financing fronts. Magically, today the University of Miami announced that its football team is relocating to Dolphin Stadium starting in the 2008 season. The "U" will vacate the 70-year-old Orange Bowl for at least $1.5 million more in annual revenue and a better parking situation, though they will lose the tradition and intimacy that came with the "OB." According to this link the City of Miami-owned 31-acre site is worth $19-22 million for both the land and stadium. The team prefers the 9-acre Government Center site downtown, but acquisition is considered far more difficult. Now that the 'Canes are locked into a 25-year deal at Joe Robbie/Blockbuster/Pro Player/Dolphin(s) Stadium, there's extra pressure on both the city and the Marlins to complete the deal. The Marlins' existing lease at DS expires after the 2010 season, and it's unlikely that the two resident football teams will tolerate a baseball infield beyond that. For the Marlins, there are still problems bridging the remaining $30 million that needs to be financed. Additional parking in the form of garages will probably need to be built to placate nearby residents' concerns.

Yesterday an
arbitration panel ruled in a split decision that the downtown ballpark site, which was taken via eminent domain, is worth $24.8 million, or over $10 million more than the deposit plunked down by Hennepin County to take the land. The original owners of the site had pegged the land to be worth $65 million. The decision is non-binding and both sides can appeal after a 48-hour cooling off period. Complicating matters is the dissenting member of the three-person panel, who filed a separate report that appraised the land to be worth $33.8 million. While the land is already being cleared for construction, the groundbreaking ceremony hasn't actually happened yet. Originally targeted for August 2, the ceremony was postponed in the wake of the I-35W bridge collapse. If one starts the clock on September 1, the Twins will have 32 months to get everything ready for Opening Day 2010 - a huge improvement over the stadium's prospects last February.

The Nat's ballpark appears to be progressing nicely, even as it zooms way past budget and DC pols are looking under every couch cushion to fund it. There remain issues involving parking and transportation planning, but as far as the ballpark goes, it's on track.

I can't forget to mention the New York stadia. There are six new venues either in planning or construction stages in the New York metropolitan area. The combined value of the two baseball stadia, one football stadium, one soccer stadium, and two new arenas? Nearly $5 billion. The venues:
  • Prudential Center (2007) - NJ Devils, $400 million
  • New Yankee Stadium (2009) - $1.3 billion (including park relocation and transit costs)
  • Citi Field (2009) - $610 million
  • Giants/Jets Stadium (2010?) - $1.3 billion
  • Barclays Center (2009?) - Brooklyn Nets, $1 billion (exclusive of ancillary development)
  • Red Bull Park (2008) - Red Bull New York, $100 million
Now that's out of everyone else's league.