Dolphins Stadium Deal Should Bring Training Facility Back to Miami-Dade

Commissioners in Miami-Dade County said they want the Dolphins' Broward County operations come south of the county borderline should they help fund the team's $400 million revamp of Sun Life Stadium.

"Any public investment we entertain, we must have a return, a clear public purpose," said Mayor Carlos Giménez. "If Broward chooses not to participate then even though they will get benefit because the stadium is so far north, then most of the benefit needs to come to Miami-Dade.

"We're putting the money where our mouth is."

The commission voted nine to four yesterday to voice their support of the plan to lawmakers in Tallahassee. Bills have been filed in both the house and senate that among other things would allow commissioners to raise hotel taxes on Miami's mainland from six to seven percent to help fund stadium improvements.

The team's "football staff is housed at our training facility" in Davie, Dolphins Spokesperson Harvey Greene wrote in an email yesterday. "That includes the coaching staff, the player personnel staff (GM, scouts, etc.), our team video and training departments, media relations, and community relations."

Greene wouldn't say whether the team has approached Broward County to discuss it contributing anything to the stadium, which sits in Miami Gardens near the county line. We reached out to Davie Mayor Judy Paul and Broward County Commissioners Lois Wexler and Tim Ryan, whose districts border the facility on Nova Southeastern's campus, to see whether they've had any contact with the team, but have yet to hear back.

The Dolphins for the third time last week announced plans to seek public funding for stadium improvements, including a canopy to shade fans from the sun. Billionaire autodealer Norman Braman has pushed back against the deal arguing Dolphin owner Stephen Ross should "write the check" himself. Ross has said he's willing to personally fund at least half the cost of construction.

Greene said the operations budget for the Davie facility "is a private matter" and didn't say whether the team is looking to Broward for any financial support for the revamp.

Yet it's unclear if it's feasible to move the training and operations facility even if Miami commissioners demand it as part of the deal.

Ross sunk millions into the facility in the summer of 2012, according to the Palm Beach Post, and around the same time inked a sponsorship deal with Baptist Health South Florida to rename the facility Doctors Hospital Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine.

The team trained at St. Thomas University in Miami from 1970 until the summer of 1993, when the Davie facility opened.

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Zachary Fagenson is the restaurant critic for Miami New Times, and proud to report a cholesterol level of 172.
Contact: Zachary Fagenson