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Mayor Gimenez proposes Plan B for Miami stadium
by Paul Kennedy, May 6th, 2014 8:32PM
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TAGS:  miami mls, mls, soccer business


[MLS EXPANSION] There was good news and bad news on the MLS expansion front on Monday night. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez reiterated his support for the construction of a waterfront soccer stadium in Miami -- no small feat considering the volatile Miami politics surrounding stadium projects. He just doesn't want it where David Beckham has his dream of building a stadium at PortMiami.

The Miami Herald reported that Gimenez wrote Beckham's real-estate adviser, proposing filling in a boat slip to create land for a stadium and pedestrian walkway along Biscayne Bay, between Museum Park and AmericanAirlines Arena, home of the NBA's Miami Heat.

“Downtown Miami will greatly benefit from the creation of a grand waterfront park that will serve to bring our urban core closer to the water, providing a magnificent bay front walk along Biscayne Bay,” Gimenez wrote to John Alschuler.

Most of the attention until now has been on the PortMiami site for the 25,000-seat stadium. A wide-range group including various political leaders and led by Royal Caribbean Cruise has launched a major campaign to kill the PortMiami stadium plans.

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.

Gimenez, who has not expressly come out against the PortMiami stadium project, is so sensitive to being seen as pro-stadium that he has not been to a baseball game at Marlins Park whose financing deal he opposed.

Miami Beckham United, which needs the approval of Miami-Date County commissioners for the project, has identified other venues as alternative sites for the stadium.

“Our goal from the outset has been to create a great fan experience, to provide an economic asset that creates jobs, and design a stadium that communicates the energy of Miami to the entire world,” the group said in a statement to the Herald. “The Port is a strong site; however, a stadium next to AmericanAirlines Arena is an exciting possibility.”

1 comment
  1. Cesar Sastre
    commented on: May 7, 2014 at 8:44 a.m.
    This Plan B is a winner that EVERYONE should come around to support. In fact, Mr. Braman and the cruise line lobby should kick in some serious money to promote soccer at a much better location and not spend tons of money opposing soccer. Come on Mr. Braman, put your money where your mouth is and support something the vast majority of the people in south Florida want, including most employees of the cruise lines that come into Miami.

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