Though David Beckham and his investors have made it clear they weren’t interested in building in Little Havana, another prominent Miami politician is pushing for a new MLS stadium next to Marlins Park.
The first two choices from the Beckham group, which includes American Idol founder Simon Fuller, were shot down by Miami and Miami-Dade officials as being inappropriate uses of valuable waterfront real estate. Miami politicians, in particular, weren’t too subtle in demanding that the group depart from its investment guidelines and build a new MLS stadium next to Marlins Park in Little Havana — a location that’s not downtown and certain light years from the glitz Beckham and crew are trying to conjure with a new MLS stadium and team. Miami officials have their own agenda: it’s widely accepted that politicians made an unwise choice in pushing for the Miami Marlins ballpark in Little Havana — at the former Orange Bowl site — and by wedging Beckham’s group into investing $250 million or so into a new MLS stadium, the mistakes with the ballpark could be offset.
It’s increasingly looking like Miami’s political base is rallying around the idea of an MLS stadium next to Marlins Park, and to that end Miami-Dade County Commissioner Xavier L. Suarez held a press conference to show what a 40,000-seat stadium would look like next to Marlins Park. From Miami New Times:
Mind you, no one asked Suarez to do this. He just kind of had his staff do it on their own. It’s clear these plans aren’t quite on the professional level we’ve scene when Beckham’s own team came up with plans for previous sites at the port and Museum Park.
Despite that, Suarez says his plan has the support of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, Chairman Willy Gort, and commissioners Francis Suarez and Marc Sarnoff. Suarez says the his fellow former mayors, Manny Diaz and Maurrice Ferre, also support the plan (for whatever that’s worth).
“As can be seen in the rendering, several small parcels of land would need to be acquired; additionally, minor changes would be necessary on NW 17 Avenue. However, it is feasible and not costly since the infrastructure is already in place,” reads a statement from Suarez’s office.
The Beckham group, as well as MLS leadership, has been pretty clear that they weren’t even going to consider a stadium at the Little Havana site. The business plan that makes a $250-million stadium feasible involves spaces that aren’t MLS stadium seats: it involves restaurants, bars, and some of that Miami glitz showing up with money year-round. And, as much as Miami politicians would like to argue, that Miami glitz isn’t going to find its way to Little Havana and the Orange Bowl site (something the Marlins found out early on), even with David Beckham as a draw. And what was once a sure bet — MLS in Miami — is now much less of a sure thing.
RELATED STORIES: MLS rejects Little Havana stadium site; Beckham looking at LA?; Beckham MLS bid now seeking Plan C stadium solution; Miami rejects boat-slip site for new Beckham MLS stadium; Miami-Dade: No new MLS stadium for Beckham at port site