Miami-Dade mayor proposes alternative stadium site to David Beckham and his partners
Credit Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez for sensing the need for an expedient solution to the discussions surrounding the proposal to build a soccer-specific stadium at PortMiami.
The desire to use a desirable tract of land to build the venue pitched key figures in the city on alternate sides. David Beckham and his partners want to construct their palace on the perfect site on Dodge Island. Royal Caribbean and its backers prefer to see the stadium built elsewhere.
Gimenez proposed an idea designed to satisfy both camps at least in some part: he wants the Beckham group to explore the possibility of filling a vacant boat slip next to AmericanAirlines Arena and using the tract of land for the new stadium, according to the Miami Herald.
In a letter addressed to John Alschuler, the primary real estate adviser for Beckham’s project, Gimenez gave the group two weeks to assess the cost and viability of undertaking the construction at the slip. He also noted that he wanted the group to situate the ground off the waterfront itself to provide room for a park along Biscayne Bay.
The request does not rule out PortMiami as a potential stadium site, but it does create a more viable alternative than the other potential locations currently in play. Beckham and his partners locked on the current top choice due to its proximity to downtown and its scenic vistas. The other possible locales – including sites near Florida International University, Marlins Park and Miami International Airport – lack the same sort of cachet and direct access.
Although this site would not include the sweeping views found at PortMiami, it does carry some advantages. It boasts all of the necessary transit links for public transportation. Most of the infrastructure is already in place. The traffic concerns – always a concern in that part of town – are mitigated somewhat.
This idea – first floated as a potential landing spot for the Marlins’ new stadium by Gimenez during his time as city manager nearly 15 years ago – may prove too ambitious to execute, though. Filling the slip involves pumping out gallons upon gallons of water and tumbling hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of rock into the slip to create solid ground. Gimenez said the county estimated the entire project would cost between $10 and $16 million.
There are also land conveyance questions to consider. This site is owned by the City of Miami, not Miami-Dade County. The potential transfer of the 9.8-acre parcel could prompt a public vote on any sale. And that particular hurdle creates yet another concern for a project already faced with several complications along its path.
Whether the particulars of the process and the price tag itself will prove palatable remains an open question. Beckham and his partners will investigate the concept and settle on a potential plan of action. At this point, they must contemplate any and all alternatives. This option – even if it fails to reap dividends in the end – at least presents a scenario where all parties involved could benefit in the end. And those are the sorts of resolutions that often end with shovels in the ground.