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Dolphins plan home upgrade

The home of the Dolphins is getting a new name, new management and a makeover that may include a roof.

Formerly called Pro Player Stadium and Joe Robbie Stadium before that, the facility where Miami has played since 1987 will go back to the name it went by while under construction: Dolphins Stadium.

A three-phase renovation is planned. The first phase, estimated to cost $100- to $125-million, may include new scoreboards, remodeled suites, new exhibition space, additional parking and a new traffic flow.

Other plans would not begin until the departure of the Florida Marlins, who hope to be playing in a new downtown Miami ballpark by 2008. They have been told that their lease, which expires in 2010, will not be renewed.

Plans are also in the works to expand the facility and possibly add a permanent or retractable roof, owner Wayne Huizenga said Monday.

The idea is to have the stadium host economy-boosting events such as business conventions and automobile shows, as well as sporting events.

"A Super Bowl brings an economic impact of $350-million. If you can keep bringing those types of events, more and more of them, let your imagination wander," Huizenga said. "Think about all the events that are in domes in the United States. Whether it's tennis, whether it's racing or horse shows, whatever it is, why wouldn't they come here and put their event in here instead of there?"

Huizenga pointed out Monday how the weather in South Florida sometimes can be dicey.

For the most part, it's beautiful. There are other times when it's too hot or too wet.

So Huizenga wants to make sure the climate always falls somewhere in between for visitors at the newly renamed Dolphins Stadium. Plans for a placing a roof over the stadium were announced with hopes of attracting "world-class" events to the area.

Although the Marlins have until after the 2010 season to leave Dolphins Stadium under their agreement, Huizenga said he expects them to be out within three years.

The stadium and the team will also be run by a new management company, Dolphins Enterprises LLC.

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