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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real Estate Florida.)

MIAMI-A ruling this week by the Florida Supreme Court in a case originating from the Panhandle has implications stretching to the other end of the state, including plans for the Florida Marlins’ new baseball stadium. The decision in Strand v. Escambia County basically states that voter referendums are not required for the use of taxpayer money in community redevelopment projects.

The ruling is good news to end a week in which Florida commercial real estate could use a boost after turmoil in the capital markets. The ruling reverses another one by the same court last year that had negated how tax increment financing districts could be used to pay down bond debt on projects.

Ron Weaver, a real estate attorney and shareholder of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson PA in Tampa, says the ruling lifts a “black cloud” from TIFs over the past year and restores financing rules that have been in place as far back as 1980. “Half a billion dollars worth of financings and refinancings were at stake,” Weaver tells GlobeSt.com.

The biggest current project affected by the Strand decision is the $515-million plan to build the new Marlins stadium on the former Orange Bowl site in Miami. The redevelopment is part of a $3-billion package in proposed overall infrastructure improvements citywide.

Local auto dealer Norman Braman had cited the prior ruling among others in an attempt to block construction of the stadium. A Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge had already dismissed six other arguments by Braman’s legal team and awaited the state Supreme Court’s decision to rule on the last one.

Sanford Bohrer, an attorney with Holland & Knight LLP who represents the Marlins, says Thursday’s ruling proves a vote is not needed to build the stadium. “It really underscores that everything proposed here is entirely lawful,” Bohrer told the Daily Business Review, a publication related to GlobeSt.com.

The Marlins, which joined Major League Baseball in 1993, have pushed for their own stadium for the past decade. It now shares a Fort Lauderdale stadium with the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins and has endured dismal attendance this season.

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