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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s official, the Miami Marine Stadium at Virginia Key will host the Miami International Boat Show for 2016 and years to come.

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The announcement came from international superstar Gloria Estefan and Emilio Estefan who headlined Thursday morning’s news conference.

“I’m a boater, so this new connection to the boat show, is to me, a no-brainer,” Gloria Estefan said. “I’ve frequented the boat show for as long as I can remember. It is a fantastic organization and  the fact that they are here is wonderful, so the tie-in couldn’t be any better.”

Estefan was joined by Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, representatives from the Miami International Boat Show and National Marine Manufacturers Association and Miami Marine Stadium’s original architect Hilario Candela.

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Wooing the Miami International Boat Show has been a courtship of at least five years, said Candela.

“They’re (Miami International Boat Show) coming back to Miami because they want to be here at the Marine Stadium Park and make this the most wonderful and exciting place, since we all know this is the most important boat show in the world,” said Candela.

A complete restoration, including the addition of a green space and restaurants, is planned, but it will take an estimated $30 million.

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The Friends of the Miami Marina said it needs public support and funding to seal the deal. The City of Miami won’t grant a lease unless the money is there.

However, representatives said $15 million has already been raised, which is ahead of projections.

Throughout the years the abandoned Marine Stadium has served as a canvas for graffiti artists, every inch is the stadium is painted however those involved in the restoration say they do plan to salvage some of the artwork.

The Friends of the Miami Marine Stadium hope the City of Miami will grant the lease on December 11th. Time is of the essence because boat show organizers plan to start with show preparations on Dec. 15th.

On Thursday the City Commission must consider a resolution on the public private partnership as to who will be running the stadium.

Click here to view restoration renderings. 


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Marybel Rodriguez