By DAN KARELL
David Beckham is quickly learning that building a soccer-specific stadium in downtown Miami is much more difficult than he originally envisaged.
After deciding to push forward on a new stadium site adjacent to American Airlines Arena in Museum Park, Beckham and his representatives have reportedly received fresh opposition from five people including former Miami mayor Manny Diaz and the creator of the Museum Park master plan.
The opposition released a statement on Wednesday stating, “We would like to express our strong opposition to this (stadium) proposal for the same reasons that a comparable proposal to build a baseball stadium in Museum Park was rejected in 2000.
“The citizens’ consensus was clear: to preserve the area as green space with two museums, to maintain public access to the waterfront, to provide unobstructed views from Biscayne Boulevard toward the Bay for people of all social and economic backgrounds, and to preserve the FEC Slip as a waterfront recreational area with a bay walk and a place where boats could tie up and enjoy a waterfront park.”
Miami Beckham United’s new stadium proposal calls for a downtown stadium along the waterfront next to the Miami Heat’s basketball stadium American Airlines Arena and Museum Park. In return for using park land to build the stadium, Miami Beckham United has offered to fill a water basin owned by the Florida East Coast Railway and turn 8.5 acres of land into part of the park.
The five-member opposition however are asking the city commissioners to reject the proposal because it wouldn’t keep in line with the “vision” of Miami.
The opposition group includes former Mayor Diaz, Alexander Cooper, who created the master plan for Museum Park, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, a former University of Miami dean of architecture who helped develop the city’s Miami 21 zoning code, Victor Dover, who worked on the design of Museum Park, David Dixon, who helped draft the city’s parks master plan, and Ana Gelabert-Sánchez, a former city planning director.
Beckham’s real-estate advisor, John Alschuler, responded to the opposition via the Miami Herald with a statement calling the opposition “disappointing” and “ironic.”
“Miami Beckham United has proposed a realistic plan to expand Museum Park by more than 20 percent, bring a world-class soccer club to Miami that will be enjoyed by everyone, and enhance the public’s access to the waterfront – all made possible through $250 million in private funding, without a single penny of City or County money,” the statement read. “A new soccer park in downtown will appeal to Miami’s diverse community, bring the world’s greatest game to one of its greatest cities, and create jobs and opportunities for local businesses.
“It’s ironic that former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, whose Marlins Ballpark cost taxpayers more than $350 million without a single vote being cast, is now opposing a plan that expands Museum Park through private funding and a public vote. It’s disappointing that former Mayor Diaz and his supporters are choosing a disconnected waterfront over a continuous bay walk; a polluted, man-made mega yacht marina over more green space for the public; and a lifeless waterfront over an iconic soccer venue that draws residents and visitors to a downtown that they have worked so long to improve.”
What do you think of this report? Think that Beckham could have to find another place to build his stadium? Do you believe this is the right spot for a soccer stadium to be built?
Share your thoughts below.