Miami MLS stadium
|Miami MLS team (MLS)|
The Miami MLS Stadium is a proposed 20,000 seat soccer-specific stadium to be built in Miami for the yet-to-be-named Major League Soccer expansion franchise in Miami. While the location of the stadium is yet to be finalized, the team's ownership group led by David Beckham has expressed a desire to build on the Miami waterfront, other locations elsewhere in Miami have been offered as fallbacks. Shortly after the team was announced in March 2014, the group presented a plan to build a 25,000-seat stadium at PortMiami, but opposition from port businesses led to the May 2014 announcement of a second location, on a reclaimed land at Museum Park, with a reduced capacity of 20,000, but that site was also rejected by the city of Miami. The team has announced its intent to build the stadium with mostly private funds.
Major League Soccer has stated that a league approval of the Miami's expansion bid was conditional on the team securing a downtown stadium site.
Proposed PortMiami plan
On March 25, 2014, Beckham announced plans to build a 25,000-seat stadium at PortMiami, adjacent to American Airlines Arena in the Downtown area of the city. Under the proposal, the stadium would be located at the southwest corner of Dodge Island and be accessible by a pedestrian bridge from Biscayne Boulevard and the Miami Heat's American Airlines Arena.
On April 8, 2014, Miami-Dade commissioners refused to let PortMiami relocate a fuel-spill facility that would need to be moved in order to accommodate the stadium and entertainment complex. The stadium plan called for a commercial complex where the facility is located. An opposition campaign to Beckham's PortMiami plan was led by the Miami Seaport Alliance (MSA), a coalition of companies and unions led by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. MSA ran television, radio, and newspaper advertisements in opposition to the PortMiami location citing traffic problems and concerns that a stadium would interfere with the port's plans to expand and handle increased cargo. Beckham's real estate adviser argued that Royal Caribbean opposed the stadium plan because it paid below-market rates on its lease at the port.
Facing political pressure, Beckham's group announced that the PortMiami site had become "Plan B", and Miami-Dade County commissioners voted 11-1 against building the stadium at PortMiami on May 20, 2014.
Proposed Museum Park plan
On May 5, 2014, with the PortMiami proposal facing fierce opposition, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Giménez proposed an alternate location on the waterfront, by filling a boat slip between American Airlines Arena and Museum Park. Giménez wrote in a letter to Beckham's real estate adviser that "Downtown Miami would greatly benefit" from a waterfront park that includes the stadium and pedestrian walkways. The land, owned by the city of Miami, would have to be sold or conveyed to the county, and Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado said filling the slip "would be a monumental task." Giménez and Regaldo discussed filling the slip in December 2013, but said the land was not being considered for a soccer stadium.
Following a meeting with Mayors Regalado and Gimenez, Beckham's group announced on May 19, 2014 that the boat slip location had become "Plan A". The site would require approval from the commissioners of the city and county, who both own parts of the land needed for the stadium, and the city charter requires a public vote. According to plans presented by Beckham's group on May 22, 2014, the 20,000-seat stadium would take up 4.2 acres of the 19-acre park, while adding 8.5 acres by filling the deep-water basin.
The Miami Marlins had considered the boat slip location for its new stadium, but rejected the plan, as it would have cost millions of dollars to pump out water and transport rocks from elsewhere to fill the slip.
The plan was rejected after Mayor Regalado and City Manager Daniel Alfonso turned down the proposal on June 10, 2014.
Other proposed sites
When the team was announced in March 2014, Miami International Airport, Marlins Park and Florida International University were mentioned as alternative sites should downtown stadium plans fall through, although MLS president Mark Abbott said in June 2014 that the league was not interested in building next to Marlins Park (although the initial plans included a soccer stadium to be built alongside it, a plan supported by the league in 2008).
Cities in neighboring Broward County were asked in July 2014 to forward a list of possible locations for a stadium and the county previously offered a county-owned site next to the BB&T Center in Sunrise as a possible site. Before the team was announced, Palm Beach County Sports Commission contacted Beckham's group and proposed FAU Stadium for the team.
The ownership group released a statement saying that a downtown Miami site was still preferred, but added, "there are other cities that would welcome an MLS club owned by [Beckham] and his partners."
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