A Marlins Park location is back in play for a Miami MLS stadium, as David Beckham and investors have reportedly decided to consider facility plans there.
The former Orange Bowl location has been rejected previously by Beckham and crew, who were pushing for a waterfront site in the past. But with Miami officials rejecting waterfront locations, Miami-Dade County pushing the Marlins Park site and the need for a decision with MLS already awarding one 2018 expansion team to Minnesota United, the former Orange Bowl location is emerging as a compromise solution. During a Miami visit this week Beckham reportedly told Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine that the Orange Bowl location was under consideration, and both Beckham and Commissioner Don Garber have been hinting that a Miami MLS stadium solution was in the works.
There are advantages to the Marlins Park location: there’s infrastructure in place (including parking ramps built for the Marlins), Miami owns most of the land, and the University of Miami football team could be lured in as a tenant. From the Miami Herald:
[Marcelo] Claure, Beckham’s soccer partner and the newly appointed CEO of Sprint, had dinner with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez last week and a private meeting with Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado. Regalado said Claure talked to him about a new wireless Internet initiative for Miami, as well as about soccer. He said Claure talked of two potential stadium sites: land next to Marlins Park, and property in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood at a location that Regalado couldn’t identify. Levine said Beckham also mentioned a potential Overtown stadium site.
The Marlins Park option has been a favorite for political leaders since last year’s botched efforts to bring Major League Soccer to PortMiami or downtown Miami’s waterfront. Miami already owns parking garages that serve the baseball park built where the Orange Bowl used to stand, and the city also owns parcels surrounding the stadium that could be part of an assemblage for soccer.
Some of this may be speculation; Beckham’s team issued a statement that downplayed his visit and any ramifications for a new stadium:
“Miami is one of David’s favorite cities and he has numerous business interests and friends here, so he visits as often as possible,”said the statement from Tadd Schwartz. “David and his partners very much appreciate the strong support we’ve received from our fans and the league as we work hard to bring an MLS club to Miami-Dade. Our plans are on course and we hope to have positive and significant news for you soon.”
If all goes well, you can expect a decision on a Miami stadium site in a few weeks.
RELATED STORIES: Miami-Dade pushing Beckham MLS team to FIU home; Beckham: We’re close to MLS stadium decision; Garber: Miami no longer lock for MLS franchise; Another prominent Miami politician pushes MLS stadium next to Marlins Park; 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