Sun Life Stadium will say goodbye to the Florida Marlins in 2012 - they're moving to a new facility in Little Havana - but the home of the Miami Dolphins, University of Miami football and the FedEx Orange Bowl may get a new neighbor around the same time. Miami Dolphins owner and real-estate developer Steve Ross wants to turn a 40-acre parking lot next to Sun Life Stadium into an elaborate 20-acre waterpark with an adjacent 20 acres for parking.
The facility - estimated to cost "tens of millions of dollars," officials say, and expected to feature private cabanas and a "swim with the fish" pool when it would open in spring 2012 - would be South Florida's first major water attraction since Hollywood's Atlantis the Water Kingdom closed in 1992. A zoning change from office use to an "unusual" designation must be approved by the Miami-Dade County Commission, according to The Miami Herald.
The development is intended to offset revenue losses in the summer months that previously came from the Marlins, and it is the first stage of a new stadium master plan. "We're looking at any and all ways that we can utilize the stadium and bring economic value," Dolphins chief executive officer Mike Dee told The Herald. "It's both an opportunity and a challenge."