[MLS EXPANSION] In face of an intensive lobbying effort by port industries that has garnered significant support from area politicians, David Beckham's MLS expansion group has abandoned plans to seek a home for its soccer stadium at PortMiami. Instead, it has set its eyes on another downtown location that Miami's two mayors say is "a perfect match" but will require voter approval.
The change in plans comes exactly two weeks after Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenezproposed to Miami Beckham United that it drop plans for the 25,000-seat port stadium and instead build the stadium by 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.
The Miami Herald reported that the decision by Miami Beckham United followed a meeting with Miami mayor Tomas Regaladoand Gimenez.
“Both mayors are in agreement that downtown Miami and soccer are a perfect match,” Miami Beckham United said in a statement.
The Miami site is a city-owned deep-water basin known as the Florida East Coast Railway slip. The Miami-Dade site is at PortMiami’s southwest corner. A city referendum is required for a waterfront city property to be developed.
A group including various political leaders and led by Royal Caribbean Cruise had launched a major campaign to kill the PortMiami stadium plans.
Beckham's group has always insisted that the most important thing was that it build a downtown stadium. MLS had given Beckham tentative approval to exercise his option to purchase an MLS club but it is contingent on coming up with a viable stadium plan.