Gimenez to David Beckham: Consider Downtown Boat Slip for MLS Stadium

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Thumbnail image for beckham3.jpg
Beckham's plans for this PortMiami stadium are looking increasingly shaky.
David Beckham's aspirations for a new Major League Soccer stadium at PortMiami have lately been going about as well as Liverpool's title chase. That's an English soccer joke, people. They're not going well! Faced with stiff opposition from Royal Caribbean and competing developers, Beckham's proposal has begun to look politically toxic, raising the question of whether MLS will come to the Magic City after all.

But Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez opened the possibility of a new option yesterday: a downtown waterfront stadium for Becks that's not at the port. Instead, he suggested, the soccer field could be built on a huge boat slip just north of the American Airlines Arena.

See also: David Beckham Eyes Soccer Stadium at Port of Miami

The long, unused stretch of water called the FEC Slip runs between the southern tip of Museum Park and the northern edge of the AA Arena. Gimenez suggested the water could be filled in, creating enough new waterfront park space to fit an MLS stadium.

Even better, the mayor said, that location would factor into Miami's plans to create an uninterrupted green and pedestrian space from the Miami River north to the new Pérez Art Museum and the Adrienne Arsht Center.

"Downtown Miami will benefit greatly from the creation of a grand waterfront park," Gimenez wrote. "Combining this area and filling in the FEC Slip will also expand the amount of publicly accessible waterfront open space, turning this underutilized land into a shared public space."

The county promised to finish a thorough analysis of the area for Beckham's group within two weeks, and Beckham's group sent the Miami Herald a statement promising to consider it. "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 told the daily. "The Port is a strong site; however, a stadium next to AmericanAirlines Arena is an exciting possibility."

via Google Maps
The FEC Slip, an unused stretch of water just north of the American Airlines Arena, could be filled in to create park space for a new stadium, Gimenez said.

Beckham and his investors are clearly enamored with the PortMiami plan, and his group won approval in Tallahassee last week to seek state funding for his project. And Gimenez's idea surely would add significant new costs for taxpayers to fund a public works project large enough to make the land suitable for a massive new stadium.

But the mayor's letter is a heartening reminder to soccer backers that it's not necessarily PortMiami or the highway (or, gulp, West Miami-Dade) for MLS in South Florida.

Here's the mayor's letter on the new proposal:

Gimenez New Proposal

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136 comments
bsmith698
bsmith698

Please explain how another stadium down town will create a better traffic situation than if it's at the Port of Miami. The Port of Miami has a tunnel and a highway to it, down town has bad traffic without a sporting event, let alone two. Of course if you look into who is getting paid by who the whole situation makes a lot more sense. Also they are willing to pay 3x more than the opposition is currently paying. Wait there is more, they actually want to use private money to build the stadium. Cough cough Marlins Park.

Brad Knoefler
Brad Knoefler

Why would anyone oppose a stadium downtown on the slip Mr MLS supporter? Cause it's in the middle of a public park you idiot!!! "It will need to be by the water because it will attract more sponsors". Are you kidding me? The AAArena on the water is generally accepted as poor urban planning that should have been built on the west side of biscayne. It's waterfront location hasn't attracted sponsors and the heat have NO economic activity that benefits the surrounding neighborhood. Amazing ignorance

Victor Runciman
Victor Runciman

How about using Marlins Stadium on its baseball off days?

Tony Castaneira
Tony Castaneira

FYI The guy from Southern Legion MLS Supporters Group lives in Broward County so is happy to lobby that Miami-Dade County Taxpayers subsidize the target of his Man-Crush.

Juan R. Pollo
Juan R. Pollo

OK, let's put it this way: name one MLS star. Right.

the_other_david
the_other_david

one stadium next to an arena??...if the major was already worried about traffic at the port, then this is a joke.

Kareem Tabsch
Kareem Tabsch

Southern Legion MLS Supporters Group: Why would people oppose this? Because 300 million is a drop in the bucket in comparison to the money this will cost taxpayers in government subsidies, tax-breaks, rebates and the like. It will also take up access to our waterways away from the citizenry to create another sporting behemoth no one will support. One only needs to look more inland to the failure that is Marlins park to see why this is genuinely a bad idea. How about instead of being swayed by the star power of a wealthy athlete we look at investing more in public infrastructure that would benefit the populace at large? Safe bike lanes, increased and better public transit, more public parks and green spaces, rent-controlled living. These are the things that make a city great- not professional sports teams. I don't want to sound like I'm anti-sports (not at all) but I hate the idea of another sporting project with big money and big names behind it coming in to the city and using up public resources when there are more dire needs in the 305.

Sophie Blachet
Sophie Blachet

money, money, money .... well not $300 millions of his own money, of course - it does not have that kind of money ! And when his wife will be fed up of the US, and people living downtown fed up of noise, traffic and not having parks to enjoy the neighborhood, so when downtown will be as dangerous as 10 years ago then Beckham will go back to England ... How can you be that fool ! Well because the only thing you see is $ $ $ $ .....

Southern Legion MLS Supporters Group
Southern Legion MLS Supporters Group

We have over 15K supporting a soccer stadium downtown. Why would people oppose this? We have a world class brand in Beckham wanting to spend almost 300 million of his own money to build an iconic stadium in Miami. It need to be by the water because that will attract more sponsors and business to the city, not to mention tourists as the games will likely be seen all over the world. Soccer is the world sport. It's getting bigger in the USA and a natural fit for this wonderful city.

Camilo Quinones
Camilo Quinones

The next suggestion is going to be to build it its own Island.

James G. Camp
James G. Camp

I have no intention of ever going downtown to a sporting event. Sun Life is where they wind up playing world cup qualifiers anyway. A 25k seating capacity stadium is a joke, Marlins stadium holds 15-20k more and should be utilized before building this small venue. Gambling failed ? Genting has the old Miami Herald property that makes more sense ?

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

Yup Carlos, this nigga just suggested HIALEAH PARK. Don't have to be a logistics expert, to come to that.

Carlos Cnotez Rodriguez
Carlos Cnotez Rodriguez

I will add that ppl in miami are a bunch of bitch ass bandwagoners tho.... Last night I went to the fridays in the falls. Every tv but 1 had the WIZ vs PACERS game. So I asked to sit by the only tv that was showing the NFL draft...15 mins in, they changed it to the fuckin pacers game.when I asked lady said that ppl requested to watch the pointless nba game that had nothing to do with miami.when I explained to her that it was the NFL draft she was like oh.idk what that is bit ill tell the manager to put it back on..15 mins later ahe comes back saying the MANAGER wasnt going to put it back on; CHECK THIS OUT; because it(the nfl draft) was a REPEAT from the night before. :|

Maritza Avila
Maritza Avila

We have plenty of soccer fans here, in addition our tourists from Europe and Latin America are fans of soccer. I think is a win!

Maritza Avila
Maritza Avila

It would be wonderful. Pittsburgh has all its teams parks in downtown close to one another and it's great.

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

Miami pols don't wait to get their celebrities photo-ops and cuts, under the desk.

Alex Hernandez
Alex Hernandez

Shouldnt we wait to see if the city would even support a team, much less it being a good team, before anyone gets this team a stadium?

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

The only place where that stadium, if it's ever erected, fits is at the Hialeah Park site! Besides, what takes place there besides bullshit concerts with Carlos Oliva, Roberto Torres or Hansel & Raul?! But, by the look of things, Beckham wants his tax-write off cow to be as centric as possible. His best bet, would be in front of the Overtown-Arena station... Raze that desolate eyesore named 'CENTRAL PARK', along with them derelict parking spaces and warehouses and old buildings and build THERE. That way, if his team ever coincides with any activity at the arena, downtown traffic is not interrupted.

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

Miami is a PIGSKIN town. Basketball or baseball?! As long as those teams are on a roll, like the current Marlins or the Lebron's HEAT... Watch when LeBron, Stanton or Fernandez leave town for greener pastures.

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

He wants a stadium, with plenty of land?! Why won't he go to Hialeah Park?!?! Good location and strategic metrorail access! Of course, Cuban elders, who are the ones that vote, don't want that there.

Sean O'Hanlon
Sean O'Hanlon

No! One sports arena right next to another? It's a stupid idea and Mayor Gimenez should tell Richard Fain and RCCL to sit down and shut up. They don't own the port of Miami; We do!

Vince Witty
Vince Witty

Maybe UM can use the stadium tho....I would love to see a UM football game here. Itd be a great stadium for bowl games as well....

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

Of course not! Too small. MLS is doing very well in markets with DIE-HARD FANS, unlike Miamians who ditch the heat halfway in the 3rd quarter.

Juan R. Pollo
Juan R. Pollo

How's MLS working in the rest of the country?

konchok
konchok

NO - Port of Miami

NO - Downtown area


These locations are already jam packed with so many events/games and cruise ships. Please leave it's beauty as it is....do not ruin more!!!!! I love and play soccer, but this is not the location.

Daniel Bechler
Daniel Bechler

And from Broward County you could take the Tri Rail down

Daniel Bechler
Daniel Bechler

Better here next to the arena then out on the beach. Beach parking is already a nightmare & $.... B-)

Marlon De Leon
Marlon De Leon

if you don't like soccer that's fine, doesn't mean there isn't a huge fan base in Miami. it's already been announced that the stadium will be used by UM when it's not being used by the MLS team.

WhyNotNow
WhyNotNow topcommenter

This is all smoke and mirrors. They know a soccer stadium will never go there. Instead, they are buying up the land for the actual site that they are going to be building it on and it is west of downtown.

Mechanesthesia
Mechanesthesia

That space can be used for so many better things.  They can make it into a fountain, put a landmark, have something with some cultural/historical relevance for the city. 

This is a waste of the last of the prime waterfront downtown location.  If they're going to build a soccer field, they might as well build another condo/office/retail tower there instead.  Why are we going to put a stadium to BLOCK our view of the water?  That doesn't make any sense!  It's not like they're going to have balconies facing the water in the stadium, people are going to be paying attention to the game, so why doesn't it have to be by the water!!!

There is so much empty lots throughout and around downtown.  Why not build it in Overtown.  That area is changing as soon as the All Aboard Florida Grand Central Station and Miami World Center is built.  Also there is the area of Southern Midtown/Edgewater, to the West of the Adrienne Arscht Center.  
I really don't understand the urban planning in this city.  There are so many empty lots surrounding the downtown urban core, like the places I just mentioned.  Yet they decided to take up prime waterfront real estate or all the way in Little Havana with the Marlins Stadium, which at that point was very far away from all the development that was going on in downtown.  By the time the development reaches NW 14th Ave in Little Havana, is going to take a long time...

Build nice stuff in the edges/borderline of where other nice stuff already exists so the development can spread to these blighted areas.  Look at the Design District.  A perfect example!

ricoo9
ricoo9

I like this better than the port, but the question is...will it create more traffic? There's enough traffic as it is. If the port is better for traffic build it there. 

alex717
alex717

No. This is a bad idea. If the Marlins couldn't build a stadium on Bicentennial Park (now Museum Park), I don't see this happening. Aside from it being the last precious bay front that is left in downtown Miami, it would be too crowed to put a stadium where it is being proposed. They should leave the boat slip as is and not block the view of the bay. 


Here's what they should do. Build a pedestrian bridge over the boat slip connecting the park to AAA, or place a Ferris Wheel at the southeast tip of the park like the one in London. Now that would be a landmark.


Vision, people. This mayor has none.

the_other_david
the_other_david

You are asking Southern Legion MLS Supporters Group (which is a soccer group) to consider  "public infrastructure that would benefit the populace at large" such as " Safe bike lanes, increased and better public transit, more public parks and green spaces, rent-controlled living" over a soccer stadium...really?


Why dont you go and tell the same thing to the miami heat fans? "Heat fans! instead of wasting money on going to the heat games...lets go make some yoga!"

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