MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The number two site is apparently the new number one site for soccer great David Beckham to build a new Major League Soccer venue in South Florida.
Beckham’s group ran into mounting resistance to the thought of building a 20,000 seat open air stadium at their number one site pick – PortMiami.
On May 5th, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez proposed that they build their stadium on the downtown Miami waterfront. Gimenez proposed filling the massive FEC boat slip between Museum Park and AmericanAirlines Arena, which, according to the mayor, would create enough new land for a new $250 million stadium complex as well as a pedestrian walkway along Biscayne Bay.
After a meeting Monday between city and county leaders and Beckham team representatives, both Mayor Gimenez and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado have opted to officially recommend the slip site to their respective commissions.
“I think it’s good that we’re homing in on a preferred site and something both the city and the county can agree on. Now I have to go to my commission and he has to go to his,” Gimenez said.
The boat slip property is owned by the city of Miami, which would have to sell it or convey it to the county. The city charter requires a public vote over the use of any waterfront property.
“It should be some kind of tri-party agreement between the county, the city and the Beckham group,” Gimenez told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana. “There’s still a lot of work to be done. Like I said, it will be paid for by the Beckham group, the stadium. They will pay fair-market rent and taxes.”
Gimenez said Beckham’s team presented a rough plan for what a soccer park along Biscyane Blvd. could look like.
“At the end of the meeting, everyone walked out feeling very good about the vision for Museum Park and creating a great stadium as a compliment to downtown, and I think that reflects in the comments from Mayors Gimenez and Regalado,” said Neisen Kasdin, the attorney for Miami Beckham United.
Earlier Monday, the group issued a statement which said in part that they look forward to convincing the city commission and the voters that it’s the right spot.
“Expanding Museum Park with the addition of the FEC slip and Parcel B will complete the vision of a continuous downtown waterfront anchored by world-class museums and a world-class soccer park. We look forward to working with the Mayors to make our case to their respective Commissions and the community over the coming months. Our collective goal is clear: Miami Beckham United will deliver a park and soccer venue that will make Miami proud.”
The Major League Soccer season runs from March to October, with 17 of 34 games being played at home, not including playoff games.
With professional basketball often stretching until June in Miami, Kasdin said specific care would be taken to make sure soccer games are not scheduled on the same day as Miami HEAT games.
He said the plan calls for utilizing the existing public parking lots in the downtown area.
Developers have long eyed the slip as one of the last remaining bayfront properties. At one point, the Marlins considered it as a possible location for their ballpark. But they nixed the idea as cost-prohibitive because of the $18 million dollars or so it would take to pump out water and fill the site with rock.