[MLS EXPANSION]MLS stadium projects have been opposed by taxpayer and community groups, but none has faced the corporate opposition that David Beckham's effort to build an MLS soccer stadium at PortMiami near the Biscayne Bay has generated.
Plans for the development on the southwest corner of Dodge Island call for a hotel, retail space with shops, restaurants and nightclub, plaza and park to be built in addition to the privately funded stadium.
PortMiami tenant Royal Caribbean Cruises opposes the project because of concerns about the traffic at the port, the busiest in the world for cruise ships. And it has support of two chapters of the International Longshoremen's Association and two stevedore companies whose interest is in expanding the business on the Miami docks, which they hope will become a major port for global shippers.
"We cannot jeopardize well-paying jobs, like crane operators, longshore workers, and mechanics, for low-paying stadium jobs, such as concession sales," the Miami Seaport Alliance, an alliance of shipping interests, said in a full-page ad that ran in the Miami Herald and Spanish-language El Nuevo Herald.
The position of the Beckham expansion group, which needs the approval of Miami-Date County commissioners for the project, is that the development will bring more revenue to Miami than any other project.
The group opposing the soccer project includes former NFL (Philadelphia Eagles) owner Norman Braman, a successful Florida car dealer who has a long history of fighting tax measures and stadium projects, including Marlins Park, home of the baseball Marlins. He is best known for leading the successful recall election against Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez in 2011.
Current Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has supported the effort to bring MLS to Miami but has insisted that any effort have community support. He is so sensitive to being see as pro-stadium that he has not been to a Marlins' game at Marlins Park whose financing deal cost Alvarez his job and Gimenez opposed.
The Beckham expansion group, which needs the approval of Miami-Date County commissioners for the project, has identified other venues as alternative sites for the stadium.