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Marlins ballpark delayed until 2012

The Florida Marlins say legal challenges forced them to delay the opening of their new ballpark.
Legal challenges to funding of a new Florida Marlins ballpark has forced the team to delay its opening for a year, to 2012. The decision came after team officials met with Hunt/Moss regarding construction timelines.

That’s not a surprise: the final leases for the ballpark still need to be agreed upon by the Marlins and Miami-Dade County, with five votes scheduled for December. Even so, construction on the project likely would not have begun until May 2009 — giving Hunt/Moss and architect Populous a little less than two years to ensure a 2011 opening. Given that this is a retractable-roof facility, we were guessing several months ago that the opening would need to be delayed a year.

A legal challenge from auto dealer Norm Braman, a former NFL team owner and noted ballpark-funding opponent, did delay planning and final agreements for the ballpark. Only this month did the final decision against Braman officially come down from the court.

With the delay, the Marlins will need to work out a one-year lease extension for Dolphin Stadium, the team’s current home.