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Alliance mounts opposition to Beckham Miami stadium
by Paul Kennedy, April 15th, 2014 5:02PM

TAGS:  david beckham, mls, soccer business


[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.

  1. Mark Hardt
    commented on: April 15, 2014 at 6:51 p.m.
    The Longshoreman have no complaint. Games are infrequent and entire winter cruise season there are no games. Ships come in every day home games occur every two weeks at best. what exactly is their complaint?
  1. Cesar Sastre
    commented on: April 15, 2014 at 7:29 p.m.
    The proposed location off a very heavily traveled and often congested road to South Beach will be a disaster as this road is already a mess. I know it is not as sexy and attractive as Biscayne Bay, but I don't know why we can't build a soccer specific stadium right off the Florida Turnpike next to Dolphins Stadium and share parking. Does this franchise have no interest in attracting Broward and Palm Beach county soccer fans?
  1. Miguel Dedo
    commented on: April 16, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.
    I am jealous of the discussion of stadium projects in Atlanta and Florida. Here in Washington, DC, there has been no news since last October's announcement of a "plan" which like more and more like nothing more than someone drawing a line around a couple of blocks in the city and saying "Gee, maybe we could build a soccer stadium here." Last week-end, a beautiful evening, playing arch-rival Red Bulls, hardly 10,000 people at RFK for the United match.
  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: April 16, 2014 at 9:59 a.m.
    Mr. Dedo and Satre are point on; RFK should be the focus of MLS kahunas...access and parking are most important. Fan comfort should be the priority.
  1. Andrea Hana
    commented on: April 16, 2014 at 12:50 p.m.
    I know that building a stadium at the port, along with the hotel, restaurants, shops, etc. will raise the taxes on the existing properties and increase competition. Perhaps this is what the objection is about. There is always an ulterior motive behind these sort of objections. They are not worried about the pay-scale of longshoremen. They are worried about their own pocketbooks. What's in it for them? There's, as usual, going to have to be some "greasing" done.

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