By FRANCO PANIZO
The PortMiami dream that David Beckham shared publicly just three months ago is all but dead. The pursuit for a soccer-specific stadium in downtown Miami is not.
Beckham and his group of investors have made the decision to move away from wanting to build a stadium in PortMiami and instead are interested in acquiring a location near the Miami Heat’s AmericanAirlines Arena that is currently a deep-water boat slip. The decision comes a couple of weeks after Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez suggested that area as a potential home for an MLS franchise and following strong opposition from Royal Caribbean and others about Beckham’s desire to build a stadium on the nearby port in the southwest corner of Dodge Island.
Any plans to build a stadium on the boat slip would require approval from city voters. If approved, Beckham’s group would have to then fill the water basin to build a stadium that is closer to 20,000 seats than the initial PortMiami target of 25,000.
“Our goal has always been to build a great stadium along the waterfront,” John Alschuler, Beckham’s real-estate adviser, told the Miami Herald. “We view this as a meaningful step in the right direction.”
Gimenez added: “I honestly have to say this is Plan A, and, now, the port is Plan B.”
There are still some political hurdles for Beckham to overcome in order to secure a deal on the boat-slip that would green light his plans for an MLS franchise, and it is likely that this location change could further delay the global icon’s timeline to get an agreement in place.
Beckham had hoped to have something agreed upon by the summer, but he might have to wait until November now due to the referendum that needs passing.
An early design of Beckham’s soccer stadium, according to the Herald, show it next to the AmericanAirlines Arena and Biscayne Boulevard. The stadium would be shorter than the basketball arena, but it is probable that Beckham’s facility would be expandable in the future.
What do you think of Beckham and his group looking at the boat-slip as the preferred location for a soccer-specific stadium? Think this approach will end successfully for them? Still holding out hope for PortMiami?
Share your thoughts below.