Life is good in Miami for the Marlins: Ballpark construction is near the halfway point with no complications, and the hotel tax used to fund the facility is running ahead of projections, as the local tourism economy rebounds.
Marlins President David Samson led the local media on a tour of the new ballpark and reported that things were going as planned, both in terms of budgets and schedules.
The ballpark is budgeted at $642 million, and the local hotel tax was slated to pay for $320 million of that figure. So far revenue from that tax is running ahead of projections, say Miami-Dade officials, as the local tourism industry rebounds far past what any expert anticipated, growing 8 percent instead of the budgeted 0 percent growth. Of course, you’d expect to see fluctuations in the tax revenues — variations are always found when budgeting over a 30-year period, as was the case here — and surely there will be some quarters where tax revenue isn’t what officials anticipated. Still, as far as how the Marlins wanted the ballpark construction to be perceived, the fact that revenues are already higher than budgeted is an awfully good sign.
The new ballpark is slated to open April 2012 (with a few MLB-mandated test runs, probably in March); at that point the team name will become the Miami Marlins, and you can expect a host of new logos and uniforms.
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