Move to impact local businesses

Gathered around a concession stand, a family of seven smile, chat and listen to the game score as they wait on the southeast corner of the Orange Bowl to sell hot dogs and sodas to passers-by.

But smiles fade when the move to Dolphin Stadium is brought up.

“The move will affect us a lot because we come to sell when the games are here,” said Ana Oroza, the mother of the family. Oroza noted that she usually makes about $1,500 per game. “We aren’t allowed to sell anywhere else.”

Gregory Wright, stadium manager for the Orange Bowl, said residents who live near the OB and are employed at the football games will no longer work at the stadium once the university moves because it will be torn down after Jan. 4. Thus far, OB events have brought in $1.2 million in concession-stand revenue.

“I’m devastated because I’m going to have to start washing cars soon,” said Brandon Portillo, an ID checker and student at Braddock High School. “This is so much easier.”

Although the nearby residents benefit from the games, many do not rely on the seven home games a year as income.

Martha Cabrera sells parking outside of her apartment, which is located across the street from the Orange Bowl. She charges $20 or $40 per space depending on the game.

“I do it for extra money,” said Cabrera, who started selling at 3 p.m. for Saturday night’s game. She waits by the cars until the game is over. “It’s not a good thing that the university is moving because a few extra bucks isn’t bad.”

The people who work inside the Orange Bowl are usually hired by temporary agencies. Wright said a majority of workers will be transferred to other services within the city’s Department of Public Facilities, such as the American Airlines Arena.

The Contemporary Services Corporation, which provides jobs at both the Orange Bowl and Dolphin Stadium, will give OB employees the opportunity to transfer to Dolphin Stadium, said CSC event staff member Justin Cortez.

“It breaks my heart to see the original home of the Canes move, but at least we’re going with them,” Cortez said.

Calvin Foxe, warehouse manager at the Orange Bowl, said he will be a supervisor at Dolphin Stadium, but will be paid less because more supervisors are hired at Dolphin Stadium.

“Economically, it’s more profitable here,” said Foxe, who has worked at the OB for seven years. “I’m not looking forward to them shutting this down.”

Because some OB employees may not be able to transfer to Dolphin Stadium, vacant jobs will be filled by off-duty police officers from the city of Miami and smaller police agencies throughout southern Dade County, Wright said.

As for the neighboring businesses and residents who cannot move with the university, Wright thinks they will be employed through other means.

“Hopefully, city leaders will be able to negotiate a new stadium deal with the Florida Marlins that will again bring events and activities, and the people who support them back into the area,” Wright said. “The area and its residents will need that economic boost to their economy.”

Analisa Harangozo may be contacted at