David Beckham Unveils New Plans for Miami Stadium
By Christine Jane Caparras | May 23, 2014 6:25 PM EST
David Beckham has unveiled plans to build a Major League Soccer stadium in downtown Miami to become the home of his MLS team. Beckham and his investors suffered a setback when earlier plans for a stadium were scrapped after environmental issues were raised.
The team would do away with a swath of a long-planned waterfront park. In return, they would fill a water basin, turning that land into new green space along Biscayne Bay.
The result, of this project would be an additional destination to draw people to Museum Park.
The new stadium is expected to be nearly 100-feet-tall with a capacity to hold 20,000 seats and would be erected next to the American Airlines Arena.
Beckham's group published preliminary sketches of the latest plans, which have come together in a rush after the Port Miami plans were scratched.
The images showed park views with a stadium wall which is nearly invisible through an open concourse landscaped with trees and a ground level housing restaurants and cafes. On one side of the building, people could gather to view soccer matches, concerts or movies on an outdoor wall screen, similar to one envisioned in the earlier port stadium. The building is being designed by renowned Miami firm Arquitectonica.
One notable factor in the latest designs is that they don't include any parking. Beckham's group says there are enough spaces in lots and garages around downtown if no soccer matches coincide with Miami Heat basketball games. .
Beckham's group would pay to fill the city's deep-water basin, known as the Florida East Coast Railway slip at a cost of more than $20 million, to complete the stadium footprint. The remaining filled land not used by the stadium along the bay would be landscaped into a park and connected to the county-owned property known as Parcel B behind the arena. That area is now being used as staging area for arena events.
A new cost estimate has not yet been completed but Alschuler revealed that he expects the price tag to approximate $250 million. The investors would mostly privately fund construction but they are also seeking a state subsidy.
For a stadium to be built, the city and county would have to agree to a land swap that would exempt the structure from property taxes. Miami voters would have to sign off, likely in November, on a potential deal.
Before Thursday's news conference, Beckham representatives showed their designs to four of five Miami city commissioners,
"The drawings are not sufficient, I'd like to see the numbers and the benefits to the residents of the city of Miami," said Cahairman Wilfredo Gort.
One of Beckham's chief investors, Marcelo Claure, a Miami-based Telecoms billionaire, spoke at Thursday's news conference about the positive result professional soccer and the team's planned youth academy would have in a city that has among the highest television ratings for the sport.
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