It looks like both Inter Miami and FXE Futbol have some additional homework to do.
With Ft. Lauderdale Commissioners set to review (and possibly vote) on the two proposals to rehab Lockhart stadium March 19, the City Attorney and City Auditor have both returned separate memos which call into question when (and if) these proposals will actually get off the ground.
The two memos helpfully outline the process for the City to review the proposals, and how they would proceed once the reviews are complete. However, even before that, there appear to be significant issues with each proposal. Let’s go over the memos.
We’ll start with the process for making a determination on the proposals, as outlined by the Ft. Lauderdale City Attorney. At the outset, the City Attorney describes the minimum standards a proposal must satisfy to be considered by the Commissioners.
Most of these are common sense, which explains why they are the absolute minimum. The important thing is that you need more detail beyond a mere concept for a project. Pretty pictures won’t cut it.
Next up we get into more detail about what needs to be provided, and note a rather interesting “out.”
Note the bolded parts, including “unless waived” by the City. Now, you can imagine how it would play if the City waived requirements for one side, but not the other. Seems like a good way to end up in court. Beyond that, the requirements themselves don’t appear to be anything that a qualified project couldn’t provide (we’ll get into the issues the parties apparently have satisfying these in a moment).
Once the proposals have been reviewed, the decision making process is pretty interesting.
“[R]ank the proposals in order of preference.” Well, that’s interesting, isn’t it. It gives the City quite a bit of deference in deciding which proposal they like. And that makes a lot of sense: either project is a long-term commitment which will have an impact on the City going forward. And the City obviously has significant input in how they want a particular area to look (a strip club may make more money than a bookstore, but money ain’t everything).
So we’ve got the process down, so what about the substance?
In order to make a decision, you’ve got to review what each side is offering. Unfortunately for Inter Miami and FXE Futbol, the City Audior has some concerns with each proposal. That said, FXE Futbol has a leg up, it seems.
That’s not good for Inter Miami (something I discussed in my previous pieces). They were obviously late to the game, and didn’t have nearly the amount of detail that FEX Futbol did. That’s not their fault per se, but if you’re desperate to find a place to play for 2020, you may want to get your ducks in a row before you come before the City. [Update] Inter Miami has apparently confirmed their financing in an updated letter.
Inter Miami’s problem (and it seems like one they could easily rectify) on this point is that they apparently haven’t submitted a financial plan/commitment beyond, “we’re rich; we’ll handle it.” Which doesn’t really comply with the statutory requirements.
Imagine if you went into a bank to try to secure a loan with this strategy. Bold move. For their part, FXE Futbol has apparently satisfied this requirement with their $85 million firm financial commitment.
Beyond that, there are still questions that the Auditor has, including the respective business plans in financial impacts on the City, based on their inability to review the parties’ financial records and the like.
So what does this mean for the proposals tomorrow? Nothing good, if you’re hoping to get a quick answers. I’m not sure how either party can get everything together in advance of the hearing such that the City can determine which one they prefer. This isn’t such a bid deal for FXE Futbol, since they weren’t planning on having their stadium completed until 2021. But Inter Miami, who wants their stadium built by next March? Uhhhh….
Again, the meetings are set for the 19th at 1:30 and 6:00 local time. They will be live streamed as well. I’ll be there doing it live. Should be fun.