Beckham Group Now Favors Downtown Location Ahead Of PortMiami For MLS Venue
In a “major strategic shift,” David Beckham and his investors yesterday said that they "no longer plan to pursue PortMiami land as their top choice” for an MLS stadium, according to Patricia Mazzei of the MIAMI HERALD. The group instead will “pursue a downtown location that is now a deep-water boat slip.” The decision to move away from the port “came after Beckham’s group met” with Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. Gimenez asked Beckham’s group to “quickly determine if filling the water basin and building a stadium would be feasible.” Beckham’s group said that it is, “though the stadium might be smaller than originally thought -- closer to 20,000 seats than to 25,000.” Both municipalities are involved “because the city owns the water basin” and the county “owns the property known as Parcel B behind AmericanAirlines Arena.” As part of any agreement, the city would “turn over the land on which the stadium would sit to the county,” so that the franchise “wouldn’t have to pay property taxes.” A conceptual design of the stadium “envisions it next to the basketball arena and to Biscayne Boulevard, with the long side of the field parallel to the street behind an existing water pump station.” The new location will “likely delay the timeline” outlined by Beckham’s group. The group had “hoped to have a stadium plan in place by the summer, but no referendum is likely until the November general election.” Still unclear is “how much a stadium at the slip would cost.” A county estimate “projected that just filling the entire basin” would cost about $20M (MIAMI HERALD, 5/20).
SURF AND TURF: In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis reports the new site “presents a considerable and costly challenge in filling the watery parcel.” A Beckham spokesperson said that the cost “is still being determined.” Beckham's group has “vowed to fund” a $250M stadium project, including “paying fair market value for use of the land.” The group “intends to apply for a state subsidy," but is "not seeking public money locally” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/20). The AP’s Christine Armario noted one concern that has “already arisen about the site is whether it would reduce downtown Miami's already limited remaining green space.” HR&A Advisors Chair John Alschuler, who reps Beckham, said that the group’s plan is to “increase the amount of park area” by 20% (AP, 5/19).