Flickr/JonDigital

The city still can't find tenants to fill up retail spaces along the stadium's parking garages.

Add another item to the growing list of problems for the Miami Marlins and their $634 million, mostly publicly funded ballpark: empty storefronts. 

According to a Miami Herald report published this week, the Marlins' on-field fire sale has been making it even more difficult for the city to find tenants for 8,500 square feet of retail space inside four city-owned parking garages surrounding the stadium. Two national chains even signed letters of intent, only to back out over concerns of dwindling crowds and foot traffic. 

Only one business, a 625-square-foot cigar store, is currently operating inside the retail spaces despite the city's efforts, and the baseball team may deserve much of the blame.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/08/v-fullstory/3386699/dismantling-of-miami-marlins-hurt.html#storylink=cpy


View Larger Map

The Marlins traded away the core of its star-studded lineup over the course of 2012, including struggling star Hanley Ramirez in July. After a disappointing 93-loss season, the team then traded five established players ($180 million in salaries) for mostly prospects last November, fomenting yet more dissatisfaction within the team's fan base. Marlins Park had the lowest attendance for a ballpark's first season in decades.

The firm hired to court retail tenants on behalf of the city noticed potential tenants backing out after the 2012 salary dump, first with the national chain Tilted Kilt, then others. According to the Herald, a leasing agent luring tenants on behalf of the city noticed businesses losing interest in being near the stadium:

A week after the November trade, leasing agent Arthur Stevens of Terranova Corp., the firm hired by the city to lure clients to the ballpark, expressed concern about Marco’s Pizza making good on its letter of intent to sign a lease.

“Marco’s is very concerned about what this will do to future attendance,’’ Stevens, who has since left the firm, wrote to the city’s public facilities director, Henry Torre. “Just thought you should know, I’ll keep you posted.”

It then happened again with another potential tenant:

Two months later, in January, Stevens again expressed concern over a client, this time a national restaurant chain named Firefly.

“While we want to do the deal with the Marlins, their investors are worried about the negative impact that the new Marlins team will have on overall traffic, attendance. One of their investors has contacts within who continues to hear not so good things,” Stevens wrote Henry in an email.

The team has fared no better on the field since its house cleaning (they are currently in last place in the NL East) and their attendance has gotten worse, with game night photos posted in Deadspin as "Empty Stadium Porn."
 
Because of the neighborhood's mostly residential building stock and inferior game day public transit access, even a successful Marlins team wouldn't necessarily make for a healthy retail draw. City officials are still optimistic with one tenant in place now and two lined up for later this summer.  A sit-down restaurant will reportedly open in July, and thanks to the team waiving a clause that prohibits potential vendors from selling food over the counter, a Subway is expected to open later this summer. 
 
Top image courtesy Flickr user JonDigital

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Design

    A History of the American Public Library

    A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.

  2. Equity

    Berlin Builds an Arsenal of Ideas to Stage a Housing Revolution

    The proposals might seem radical—from banning huge corporate landlords to freezing rents for five years—but polls show the public is ready for something dramatic.

  3. A gun-control rally in Pittsburgh's Market Square, Saturday, March 24, 2018.
    Equity

    Inside Pittsburgh's Battle Over Gun Control Laws

    Pittsburgh could be the bellwether city in Pennsylvania, defying state law to pass gun control ordinances, but first it has to get past its own district attorney.

  4. Two men plant a young tree in a lot in Detroit.
    Environment

    Why Detroit Residents Pushed Back Against Tree-Planting

    Detroiters were refusing city-sponsored “free trees.” A researcher found out the problem: She was the first person to ask them if they wanted them.

  5. A photo of a design maquette for the Obama Presidential Center planned for Jackson Park and designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
    Design

    Why the Case Against the Obama Presidential Center Is So Important

    A judge has ruled that a lawsuit brought by Chicago preservationists can proceed, dealing a blow to Barack Obama's plans to build his library in Jackson Park.