SBD/February 17, 2014/Facilities

Beckham Exploring Possible Stadium That Would House MLS, UM Football

Beckham's group initially was looking for a 25,000-seat stadium
David Beckham's group that is trying to bring an MLS expansion team to Miami is "exploring the feasibility of building a soccer stadium that would be large enough to accommodate" the Univ. of Miami football team, and UM "would have interest if the stadium meets the school’s requirements and if the Hurricanes can somehow escape their long Sun Life Stadium lease," according to sources cited by Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. Beckham's group and UM "have had preliminary discussions, but the Beckham camp and MLS likely need a couple of months to determine whether it’s realistic." UM "needs a stadium with at least 40,000 seats to accommodate Hurricanes games; Beckham’s group initially has spoken of having 25,000." UM also would "need the stadium to have sufficient parking, large enough locker-rooms and enough suites." Though Beckham "likes the idea, there are significant obstacles that could torpedo a UM/MLS shared facility." Perhaps the "biggest: UM would need to negotiate to escape the 18 remaining years on its lease with Sun Life Stadium." It is "unclear" how much Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross "would seek financially to permit UM to do that." Another "potential obstacle: Beckham must find a site big enough to accommodate a 40,000-seat stadium and the expected traffic." UM "isn’t unhappy at Sun Life but would be intrigued by the possibility of playing in a more cozy facility that’s closer to campus." UM "is not interested in financing the stadium; that has not been discussed." Meanwhile, Heat F LeBron James on Friday was asked if he will be involved in Beckham's group and responded, "Right now we're not, but it's still open" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 2/16).

PORT OF CALL: In Miami, Douglas Hanks wrote under the header, "Beckham's Soccer Plans Conflict With PortMiami's Business Plan." The nine acres Beckham "wants near the shallows of PortMiami’s southwest corner would upend the port’s own detailed plans for millions of dollars in new real estate income from a proposed trade and tourism center that could contain as much as 7 million square feet of new revenue-generating space." The "controversial venture, opposed by Miami’s commercial real estate industry, was designed to help PortMiami create a new profit source as it manages a debt load quickly nearing" $1B (MIAMI HERALD, 2/16).
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