MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Soccer superstar David Beckham has lost support in the City of Miami for his plans to build a Major League Soccer stadium in at the site of a boat slip tucked between the American Airlines Arena and Museum Park in Downtown Miami.
Tuesday afternoon, the city and Miami Beckham United issued a joint statement that reads, “Miami Beckham United and City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado met today to discuss a path forward for bringing a Major League Soccer club to Miami. Mayor Regalado and the City Manager expressed their belief that the FEC slip is an inappropriate location for a soccer stadium.”
Regalado says he heard a lot of opposition from downtown residents about the proposal to fill in the FEC boat slip.
“They think it will affect the quality of life,” Regalado told CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana.
On Tuesday night, signs blasting the proposal could still be seen from balconies along Biscayne Blvd.
“We first have to listen to the residents and then make decisions. In the past, the city made decisions and then listened to what the residents had to say,” Regalado said, hinting at the controversial deal to build Marlins Park.
The statement also read, “Mayor Regalado and the City Manager expressed their strong desire to bring professional soccer to Miami and their deep respect for David Beckham and his partners.”
“Miami Beckham United will spend the coming months weighing alternatives,” the joint statement concluded.
Mayor Carlos Gimenez released this statement Tuesday:
“Earlier this afternoon, I was advised by representatives of the Miami Beckham United group and the City of Miami that the team had been informed by City officials that the FEC Slip site was no longer an option the City would support. It is my understanding that Miami Beckham United is now weighing its options. If asked by Major League Soccer and Miami Beckham United, my Administration will work to identify other possible sites in Miami-Dade County. I am a big supporter of bringing Major League Soccer to Miami-Dade because I know it would be successful here. However, my terms will not change: No taxpayer dollars will go towards the construction of a stadium.”
Deputy Mayor Jack Osterholt said, “I think that we need to start trying to find some alternative sites and that’s not easy to do, but that’s our job.”
Beckham’s billionaire business partner Marcelo Claure unveiled artist renderings of their proposed soccer stadium on May 22nd and was optimistic that their plans to fill the large boat slip and build the stadium in a new park area would be accepted, despite some local opposition.
Beckham and his backers have always stated that they don’t want any public money and the stadium would be built entirely out of private funds.
Miami Beckham United released a statement which said, in part, “We respect Mayor Regalado’s decision. David and our team are experiencing an incredible level of support and passion from every community in Miami to bring an MLS soccer team to this city.”
Originally, Beckham’s group had wanted a stadium built on vacant PortMiami property with a water and skyline view, but “Plan A” met some major political resistance which included Miami-Dade commissioners. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado got on board with Beckham, and supported the “Plan B” on the bay.
Mayor Gimenez was informed by a representative of the Miami Beckham United Group Tuesday afternoon about the latest developments occurring in the City.
The City plan called for the stadium to be built on City owned land which would expand museum park by 20-percent, opening up more park on now neglected land east of the AAA that is owned by the County.
Beckham and Major League soccer have made it clear, however, that they will only play in downtown Miami or someone else’s downtown. Beckham has said in the past he wants to pay for the stadium himself as long as it’s on the waterfront.
One spot that’s been tossed around is a parcel by Marlins Park. That falls within Miami city limits, but Mayor Regalado said details for that site have not been discussed.
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