Business owners support $400 million stadium renovation
MEDLEY, Fla. (WSVN) -- Some small business owners in South Florida are showing their support for modernizing Sun Life Stadium.
The Miami Dolphins are hoping to gain support from public funding. "And I think about reporters asking the question, 'Why?' I say, 'Why not?'" said Miami Dolphins VP Nat Moore.
The organization presented the deal to small business owners on Wednesday who, they said, hope to benefit if a sales tax rebate and a Miami-Dade County hotel tax are approved to fund the stadium improvements. "It just helps the community to be alive. People spend more money on food. They can go to the supermarket, and it helps everyone in the community," said Fernando Martinez from Roma Foods.
Business owners said they do not expect to directly benefit from the deal and have no existing or pending contract with the Dolphins but just want a cut of what they believe will come. "This project is very important for us, too, because it brings a lot of international market. A market to the hotel," said Baywood Hotels spokesperson Linda Camarena.
The Dolphins have pledged to pay at least half of the estimated $400 million makeover, which includes a dome, new lighting and additional seating. The Dolphins said the 22-part project will help make South Florida a serious contender for future Super Bowl games and also bring soccer to Sun Life Stadium.
Not all business owners think it's a good idea, however. "Poor guy. Oh, the poor guy. I feel so sorry for him," said Norman Braman. "I think we should go out and raise money for poor Mr. Ross."
With sarcasm, critic Norman Braman said the deal is welfare for billionaire Dolphins owner Steven Ross. "This is a private asset of his, and like any businessperson, whether it's me or any of your viewers, we put money," said Braman. "We invest funds in our own business to drive in additional profit, and that's what Mr. Ross should do."
When the hotel company that supports the deal was asked if her company would ask taxpayers to fund one of their projects, she said, "No. We never do that. I don't know why they are asking for, but we would never as a company," said Camarena. However, the proposed referendum does include a bed tax that hotels will have to impose on their guests.
Miami-Dade residents are expected to take the issue during a May vote.
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