The Miami Dolphins announced on Tuesday that they will open a Miami Gardens training facility in the coming years, marking a shift for the club’s operations.
In an effort to modernize their facilities, the Dolphins had been exploring their options for a new training complex. The team has trained on the campus of Nova Southeastern University in Davie, FL since 1993, but had been considering a move elsewhere, including to land near Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
The move to Miami Gardens became official Tuesday, when the Dolphins announced that they were proceeding with plans for a new facility on land on the northwest side of Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins are hoping to arrive at the new training facility as early as 2020, according to Tuesday’s announcement from Dolphins president and CEO Tom Garfunkel. More from the Miami Herald:
“It’s been a moving target for a few years,” Garfinkel said. “It wasn’t necessarily a priority a few years ago. I think it came more to a head about a year ago and became something we discussed more seriously and now that the stadium is closer to being completed, it was like ‘what’s the next step in the evolution of the organization to really be best in class? And every year we’ve had needs there and we’ve sort of just put band-aids on and we just decided we needed to build a first-class facility.”
Garfinkel said the Dolphins hope the new training headquarters will be ready by 2020 at the earliest, will be built on team-owned lands and is likely to cost at least $75-$80 million.
In the run-up to the announcement, Dolphins lobbyists secured an expanded subsidy deal with Miami-Dade that could bring more than $60 million to the franchise over the next several decades. The agreement, approved last month by the County Commission, increased the current $5 million cap on yearly stadium subsidies to $5.75 million under a 2014 agreement tied to the team’s private renovation of Hard Rock.
The public financial support was granted in exchange for the team recruiting large events to Hard Rock. Actual allocations have been well below the $5 million so far, since Hard Rock has not yet held large events like Super Bowl that yield the top bonuses from the county.
The move has a few implications for the Dolphins. While improving the team’s football facilities, the shift to a new complex in Miami Gardens also compliments the improvements that the franchise has made to Hard Rock Stadium in recent years. Under owner Stephen Ross, those improvements–including the addition of a new canopy that protects much of the seating bowl–have upgraded fan and player amenities, while better positioning the stadium to host high-profile events (the Super Bowl is currently scheduled to be played there in 2020). More changes to Hard Rock Stadium are in the works, including new food and beverage menu additions for 2018.
Rendering courtesy Miami Dolphins.
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