Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez is pitching David Beckham and investors on an alternative downtown Miami waterfront site just north of the Port of Miami site proposed for a new MLS stadium.
The Port of Miami location is one of several potential sites for the privately financed stadium, as Beckham and crew work toward an MLS expansion team. And while some of the other potential sites may be a little more practical — there’s already infrastructure in place at a proposed site next to the Miami Marlins stadium — there’s a lot to be said for a Miami waterfront site when the team is playing on a warm summer night and a nice, cool breeze coming off the sea.
There’s been a slew of contention over the Port of Miami site: Royal Caribbean wants to develop the site with a hotel and entertainment complex, and some politicians argue part of the site should be maintained for expanded shipping. Cruise lines have a lot of political pull in Miami, and Royal Caribbean has a considerable corporate presence.
The alternative site has some appeal: Gimenez has pitched filling in a current boat slip between Museum Park and AmericanAirlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat. There would also be room for a walkway along Biscayne Bay connecting the stadium, arena, Bayside Marketplace and Bayfront Park. And filling in the slip for either a new soccer stadium or another use has been studied in the past.
“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 in a letter late Monday to Beckham’s adviser. The response from Miami Beckham United: They’ll study the site and report back in two weeks.
But it represents an engineering challenge and a political challenge. Experts say filling in the site will not be cheap or easy, requiring a new seawall and 400,000 cubic yards of fill. Politically, the city of Miami (which owns the slip) and the U.S. Army of Engineers would need to sign off.