SBD/May 23, 2014/Facilities

Beckham Group Releases New MLS Stadium Plan, Hints At Ultimatum

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New stadium plans would do away with a long-planned waterfront park
A portrait of what David Beckham's MLS stadium and adjacent waterfront green space in downtown Miami would look like "began to emerge Thursday as Beckham’s group published preliminary sketches of the latest plans," according to Patricia Mazzei of the MIAMI HERALD. The plans have "come together in a rush after the investors’ preferred site at PortMiami was scratched earlier this week." The drawings were "so hurried" that they "didn't include a crucial perspective: what a nearly 100-foot-high stadium on Biscayne Boulevard would look like from the street, where it would block most water and park views." Beckham and his investors as part of the new plan would "do away with a swath of a long-planned waterfront park," but in return would "fill a water basin, turning that land and a neighboring parcel into new green space along Biscayne Bay." Erecting a nearly 100-feet-tall, 20,000-seat stadium would "dramatically alter existing plans for the park, which would be reconfigured to accommodate the structure next to AmericanAirlines Arena, hiding most of the green space behind the soccer stadium." The latest designs "don’t include any parking." Beckham’s group said that there are "enough spaces in lots and garages around downtown if no soccer matches coincide" with Heat games. Heat execs have said that they are "concerned about some of those parking spots disappearing as new developments break ground." HR&A Advisors Chair John Alschuler, who reps Beckham, said that he "expects the price tag to approximate" the one for the original PortMiami plan -- about $250M. The city and county "would have to agree to a land swap" in order for a stadium to be built, and Miami voters would "have to sign off, likely in November, on a potential deal" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/23).

OFFERING AN ULTIMATUM? Alschuler and fellow investor Brightstar Communications CEO Marcelo Claure said that the proposal "would provide four additional acres of parking space and create a seamless waterfront walkway in downtown Miami connecting the stadium to nearby museums, restaurants and green spaces." Alschuler "declined to say whether Miami Beckham United would consider other sites in the city if the latest proposal were to fall though." However, Claure was "less discrete." He said, "No stadium downtown, no team in Miami" (AP, 5/22). Claure: "I say there is never all-or-nothing, but I say we’re getting very close to that. We’re going to put all of our energy and all of our passion into explaining to the people of Miami why this is a great site and why they should endorse it. I think we cannot afford to lose this one." In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis notes Beckham has "not announced a name for his team, and Claure said that won’t happen prior to the referendum" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/23).
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