A front page story in today’s New York Times details how New Jersey taxpayers are still on the hook for $266 million in bond payments that remain on the Meadowlands Sports Complex, despite the fact that Giants Stadium has been torn down and the New York Giants and Jets have moved into their new $1.6 billion new Meadowlands Stadium. The debt includes what’s left on the Izod Center, which is no longer home to the New Jersey Devils and Nets.
The bill comes to $35.8 million this year, and the bonds won’t be retired until 2025, the article says. The piece goes on to detail a number of locales where taxpayers are still paying off bonds on buildings that no longer exist: Seattle residents in King County still owe $83 million, scheduled to be repaid in 2016, on the Seattle Mariners’ former home, the Kingdome, which came down in 2000.
South Florida taxpayers seem only to be on the hook for sports venues in use – even though at least two – the Orange Bowl and Miami Arena – have been torn down in the past couple of years. The city of Miami made sure Miami Arena was off the city’s tax rolls in 2004 when it sold the pink oval arena – where the Miami Heat, Florida Panthers and UM men’s basketball team once played -- to Glenn Straub at auction for $28 million. And a $50 million general obligation bond approved by voters in 2004 to renovate the Orange Bowl has instead been applied to the Florida Marlins’ under-construction ballpark.